Lena Heilmann lost her sister Danielle to suicide in 2012. In response to this traumatic loss and as a way to honor her sister, Lena transitioned from her role as a college professor to working in suicide prevention. Now, as the Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator with the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention, Lena merges her lived experience with coordinating a SAMHSA Youth Suicide Prevention Grant. In this podcast, Lena talks about how her grief and loss survivor identity inform her work and her personal mission. Adam and Lena's conversation also addresses the role of upstream prevention efforts, an overview of suicide prevention work in Colorado, the importance of authentic interpersonal relationships, and how to prioritize self-care when working in the suicide prevention field.
This podcast release is coinciding with a HSR&D Cyberseminar "REACH VET: Applying Predictive Analytics to Clinical Practice." The HSR&D website will have a recording of the seminar. Adam speaks with Aaron Eagan, RN MPH, about the use of predictive analytics to identify Veterans at highest-risk of suicide and intervenes clinically to review and enhance care.
Dr. Michael Kauth is a clinical psychologist and has two major roles in the VA. He is Director of the VHA LGBT Health Program – a position shared with Dr. Jillian Shipherd – and he is also Co-Director of the South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center. In addition, Dr. Kauth is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. Recently he received The American Psychological Association, Division 18, James Besyner Award for Lifetime Achievement and later this week he and Dr. Shipherd will be receive the 2018 Achievement Award from the Gay/Lesbian Medical Association in Las Vegas. I have known Michael for almost 15 years beginning when he was the National Educational Director for MIRECC/CoE and I maintained the website. I caught up with Michael to reflect on his work and get his view of the future.
We recorded this podcast to coincide with a series of online trainings that Dr. Monteith is conducting and because this is a particular time in our country where sexual assault is on the minds of many. Lindsey discusses with Adam how we can take a public health approach to sexual violence, one where we can all take responsibility for ending the violence and helping victims heal. Her research of late has taken a qualitative approach where survivors are given a chance to speak in their own voice and make their own choices. She reminds us to listen with compassion and to believe what survivors are telling us.
I read Jess' piece, "Hegemonic Sanity and Suicide" in San Francisco during a rather desultory conference. The essay is a fresh look at a topic we all spend so much time thinking and talking about. For this podcast Jess came into our office at the new Rocky Mountain Regional VAMC, we sat by the window and talked. Jess had a lot of intriguing things to say about how we, society, think of mental health and how our collective inability to understand and accept differences places some of us on the margin and not part of the whole. And once we are on the margin how the credibility of our voices, our experiences are discounted. Tune in to the podcast to understand how listening to those with lived experiences can lead to a place where we trust what we are being told.
I went to Annmarie and Tracey's website, A Voice at the Table, and the banner shows a winter scene, bare trees in the snow. Then I started editing the recording that Adam did of these two wonders during the 2018 Bridging the Divide conference her in Denver. Listening to these two felt like coming in from the cold and sitting at the table in their kitchen. Laughing and talking big subjects and enveloped in warmth and fine company. Listen to this podcast and immerse yourselves in the power of the human spirit.
This podcast is an excellent example of the collaborative relationship between the VA Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program and the VA Suicide Prevention Program in their mutual efforts to prevent both intimate partner violence (IPV) and suicide for those who have served. Dr. Bruce is the National Program Manager for the VHA Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program, which serves Veterans, their partners, and VA staff impacted by intimate partner violence. Dr. Franklin is the Executive Director, Suicide Prevention for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. And Dr. Monteith is a research/clinical psychologist with Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention.
Thank you for MIRECC’s, for your interest in the Sacred Bundle Project. We are a Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Tribal grantee, with the full name of our project being “Manidookewigashkibjigan Sacred Bundle: R.E.S.P.E.C.T (Respect, Engaging, Supporting, Protecting, Empowering, Connecting, and Teaching) Project. We are primarily focused on youth suicide prevention concerning Native American/Alaskan Native individuals ages 10-24 years old. We work with 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan and spread the message that everyone is a #HealingHelper.
Adam Hoffberg interviewed Psychology Fellow Dr. Ryan Holliday about the research he is doing related to Military Sexual Trauma. This is a podcast that you could describe to your kids with something like, "Kids, I heard Doc Holliday’s original podcast before he became really big." You talk with Ryan and you just know he knows a lot (about evidence-based treatment, MST and PTSD) and isn't afraid to break it down for you. This podcast is also worth a listen if you want to hear Ryan try to get Adam to laugh. Apparently, it is not that easy.
In this podcast Adam Hoffberg and Dr. Katie Lewis discuss how daily social experiences operate as risk and/or protective factors against suicide. Dr. Lewis is a Research Psychologist at the Austen Riggs Center and a recent AFSP Young Investigator Grant recipient for her research, which utilizes ecological momentary assessment methods to study the social drivers of suicidal ideation in adults contending with complex chronic psychopathology. Adam and Dr. Lewis talk about the importance of studying the daily social experiences of individuals with chronic suicidal ideation, and the challenges (and benefits!) of implementing experience sampling research designs in active clinical settings.
What if we all woke up one day. Listening to Drs. Jessica Ribeiro and Joe Franklin is kind of like that; waking up to a new day and a new way to look at what we have assumed for so long when it comes to risk. Joe electrified the crowd at AAS with a keynote that introduced a new paradigm for suicide research. Later Jess continued the discussion by questioning "What We Risk by Maintaining the Status Quo About Suicide Risk". Here we had the chance to talk with both at once and listen has they riffed on their own work and their work in common.
While Adam was interviewing Dr. Elliott-Groves we both watched in awe as she started drawing out the concepts she was so clearly discussing. Emma is a member of the Cowichan Tribe, a First Nation people on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Taking an ecological approach to her work she brings the listener into a world view of community and relationships that helps better plan interventions.
Marshall is a social media whiz who came to our attention at AAS. Marshall is a Religious Studies Major Randolph-Macon College and took a look at campus Greek Life as it relates to suicide and suicide prevention. Another examination of a community and it's response to suicide.
Adam talks with Dr. Daniel DeBrule about a wholistic approach to suicide prevention. Dan is with the Houston VA and leads a program and research exploring how health and well-being team up for suicide prevention.
Adam sat down with Elvis Walden from StackUp.org. There was a social during AAS for folks involved in social media and these two gamers got to talking and one thing led to another and before you know it they produced a podcasts. What I like about Stack Up is they have built another community where people can get together and support one another. We have done a number of podcasts that feature Veterans finding and building community around a shared activity, this time gaming. And it works.
Dr. Sarra Nazem, Clinical Research Psychologist at Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Veteran Suicide Prevention, hosts her first podcast with Elain de Mello, LICSW, and the Supervisor of Training & Prevention Services for The Connect Program. Sarra will soon be launching The VA Suicide Postvention Resource Center. She wanted to interview Elaine because of Elaine’s work in postvention and specifically with The Connect Program.
Adam sat down with Janet during the 2018 AAS conference this spring in Washington DC. Janet is, amongst other things, the Loss Division Chair for the American Association of Suicidology. Her journey began over 20 years ago when her brother died by suicide. Grief comes in many forms and is expressed many ways. Listen as Janet describes the journey she embarked upon with her own grief; how it lead to helping others on their journey.
Adam caught up with DeQuincy on the 2nd day of the AAS conference in the evening just before a movie showing. We were all a bit spent but game.
DeQuincy is a suicide attempt survivor who has been active in suicide prevention since 1996, including roles in the development of national and state suicide prevention plans. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from UCLA, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester focused on public health approaches to suicide prevention. Dr. Lezine is the Co-Chair of the Consumer Survivor Subcommittee for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and a member of the Steering Committee for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
He is also a member of the Suicide Attempt Survivors Task Force, of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and principal author on the Way Forward: Pathways to Hope, Recovery, and Wellness with Insights from Lived Experience which is in press. He has also worked with organizations including Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) USA, Organization for Attempters and Survivors in Interfaith Services (OASSIS), National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), and the Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Council. Dr. Lezine is the author of Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope Over Suicide (Oxford University Press, 2008) and President & CEO of Prevention Communities, focusing on suicide prevention and mental health promotion.
Suicide is currently the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is an organization with chapters across the country, whose mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.
One of the many programs sponsored by AFSP is the Survivor Outreach Program, which provides support to those who have recently lost a loved one to suicide. The program, available in-person, by phone, or video call, connects recent survivors of suicide loss with trained loss survivors who’ve had time to heal, know what these people are going through, and can help them on their way.
Here to talk about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Survivor Outreach Program, are Doreen Marshall, who is AFSP’s Vice President of Programs, and Shannon Donnick, Manager of AFSP’s Loss and Healing Programs.
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day takes place on November 17, 2018. Known as Survivor Day, the event, which is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope. In 2017, there were close to 400 Survivor Day events in more than 20 countries.
Here to talk with us about Survivor Day, and how people can heal from a suicide loss, are Doreen Marshall, who is AFSP’s Vice President of Programs, and Brandon English, Director of AFSP’s Loss and Healing Programs.
In this episode Adam has a great talk with Dr. Bridget Matarazzo about the VA Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program. The program has recently expanded so that anyone working with a Veteran and concerned about suicide can contact them for a free consultation. Bridget discusses the idea behind the service and the great team (Hal S. Wortzel, MD, Sarra Nazem, Ph.D., Georgia Gerard, LCSW, Kaily A. Cannizzaro, PsyD, and Peter Gutierrez, Ph.D.) that provides the consultation.
Curious about the Veterans Crisis Line? Join us for an in-depth conversation with VCL Director Matt Miller about its purpose, history, and what the future holds. Matt takes us on a journey from VCL's initial launch in 2007, to right now, for the ribbon-cutting of the 3rd call center in Topeka, Kansas. We talk about how VCL has expanded to meet increasing demand, responding to over 2000 calls each day. Matt tells us about the services VCL offers, who can use them, and how responders are trained to support Veterans and their loved ones. He also walks us through what happens when someone reaches out to the VCL, and explains the follow-up process connecting Veterans with their local VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator. Matt demystifies the crisis line experience and encourages everyone to be familiar with how to contact the VCL before a crisis happens, including saving the number 1-800-273-8255 press 1 into your phone. Tune in to learn about the latest technological advances being pioneered by the VCL, as well as research and continuous quality improvement underway.
In this episode Georgia Gerard continues her exploration of spirituality and moral injury as she discusses the Warrior to Soul Mate Program with Clyde Angel, Chief, Chaplain Service and National Coordinator for the Warrior to Soul Mate Program at Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indianapolis, Indiana. The Warrior to Soul Mate Program is based on a program created by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation (Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills). Clyde and Georgia take a deep dive into relationships for returning warriors and a method to heal them.
Adam discusses the new website www.treatmentworksforvets.org with Dr. Brad Karlin. The website has two purposes. The first is to introduce Veterans to the idea of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies, especially for insomnia and depression (others will be added later). Evidence-Based Psychotherapies (EBP) are treatments that have been shown to work; they have been tested and work. The other part of the website is for clinicians and focuses on Shared Decision Making, a process in which the provider sits down with the person interested in getting treatment and together they decide on what EBP is best for the individual. Best of all the website is free and open to everyone - Veteran and non-Veteran!
This podcast is the beginning of a new occasional series where we interview Masters in Suicide Prevention.
Jerry Reed, PhD, MSW, Education Development Center’s Senior Vice President for Practice Leadership and Lead for the U.S. Division’s Suicide, Violence, and Injury Prevention Portfolio, shares his professional journey from the early days of his career experience to his current position of being a well-known leader and expert in the suicide, violence, and injury prevention fields.
Dr. Reed shares the background behind development of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) and the launch of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention that ranged from the 1990s to today. Dr. Reed speaks to the importance of how sharing stories of personal loss coupled with action requests truly moved forward national policy on suicide prevention and how these stories of individuals with personal lived experience with ideation and attempts continue to advance our policy and practice today.
Dr. Reed then explores ways to advance the 2012 revised NSSP, and thus reduce suicide, to include practical examples of what governments; businesses and employers; health care systems, injurers, and clinicians; schools, colleges, and universities; non-profit, community- and faith-based organizations; and individuals and families can do. The Zero Suicide initiative is explored as a very specific example for advancing Goal 8: Promote suicide prevention as a core component of health care services.
Finally, Dr. Reed provided an overview of the major priorities of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in effort to advance the NSSP, particularly to reduce the national suicide rate by 20% by 2025. A national coordinated response with additional resources are needed to attain that goal. We should celebrate the progress and continue to intentionally focus on this issue with time and resources such that eventually any person can use any door to access services when in a time of distress.