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MREs Aren’t the Only Thing That Can Make You Feel Like Crap: Veterans and Mental Health/Suicide Prevention

  • 05 Jan 2017
  • 6:00 PM
  • On Twitter


This Twitter Chat will bring together perspectives on “upstream” mental health promotion and suicide prevention for Veterans/Military sharing expertise from research, clinical and lived experience. Conversation will explore topics like screening, early intervention, and so called “alternative” approaches to traditional mental health services. Panelists will be discussing:

  • What are some of the main drivers of mental health crises and suicide risk among Veterans? What are misperceptions?
  • What barriers do Veterans experience when engaging in traditional mental health services (talk therapy/medication)?
  • How can screening and early intervention help Veterans? Peer Support? Wellness? Animal Assisted Therapy?
  • What else would you like Veterans to know about proactively taking care of mental health and building resilience?

Panelists include:

Sean Barnes, Ph.D. joined the Rocky Mountain MIRECC team as a full clinical research psychologist in 2013. Dr. Barnes contributes to the MIRECC through investigatory research (Principal Investigator and Co-PI for multiple projects), consulting (expert input for mental health and medical providers on suicide risk management), assessment, and treatment (group and individual). Dr. Barnes also holds a local academic appointment as Assistant Professor at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. @Sean_M_Barnes

Tomas K. Cruz is an Active Duty Master Sergeant in the Unites States Army with over 21 years of service.  He has deployed in support of Operation Joint Guardian, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  MSG Cruz has lived experience with suicide prevention and awareness as he attempted in 2010 to take his life.  Since his attempt MSG Cruz has become a huge advocate of more awareness and prevention for Veterans.  He has taken his skills to social media where he assisted in pioneering two organizations to identify and assist Veterans with mental health issues, suicidal ideations, relationship issues, financial concerns and other Veteran specific issues. @TCruz76

Major General Mark Graham retired from the US Army as the Director U.S. Army Forces Command after almost 35 years of service. Major General Graham and his wife, Carol, tirelessly champions mental health and suicide-prevention awareness. They both speak across the nation to honor the memory of their two sons, 2LT Jeff Graham who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in February 2004, and their son Kevin a Senior Army ROTC cadet who died by suicide in June 2003. @mgrahamm2

Dr. Sarra Nazem, Ph.D. joined the Rocky Mountain MIRECC staff as a Clinical/Research Psychologist. Dr. Nazem’s primary research interests are focused on the identification of underlying processes associated with the acquired capability to enact lethal self-injury. Additionally, Dr. Nazem also has a secondary interest in examining the association between sleep disorders and suicide risk. @SarraNazem

Andrew O'Brien is an Iraq war veteran and suicide attempt survivor. After being lucky enough to wake up, he decided to make a difference for all communities suffering from suicide. He now travels across the world speaking to both military and civilian communities. He helps people realize that they are no longer alone in the way they feel or think, giving them courage to seek help for their mental struggles and helping their peers as well. @LivingResilient

Matt Podlogar, M.S. is a 4th year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student who works with Dr. Thomas Joiner at Florida State University in the “Joiner Lab” for the study and prevention of suicide-related conditions and behaviors, and a research assistant for the Military Suicide Research Consortium, part of an ongoing strategy to integrate and synchronize U.S. Department of Defense and civilian efforts to implement a multidisciplinary research approach to suicide prevention. Matt’s current research interests are focused on suicide risk assessment and measurement, particularly among military and veterans. @JoinerLab

Nickie Silverstein joined Give an Hour in September 2015 as a volunteer and currently serves as a Campaign to Change Direction Liaison. She and her husband have both served in the Army. She served as a finance officer in the Army for nearly nine years. After the Army, she became a government service employee serving as the Executive Officer to the Garrison Commander for both Fort Riley and Fort Leavnworth, Kansas. Her husband retired after 27 years of service and deployed three times throughout his career. @SignsForChange

Caitlin Thompson, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office for Suicide Prevention. She is responsible for the office’s vision and mission, including the development of VA suicide prevention policy initiatives. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Thompson directs VA’s epidemiological and clinical research in suicide prevention and is recognized internationally as an authority on Veteran suicide. @DeptVetAffairs

Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado © 2015

The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, P.O. Box 440311, Aurora, CO 80044-0311

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