In this last post, I would like to highlight the contributions of the VA VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention (CoE) to VA suicide research and prevention efforts.
The risk and protective factors for suicide are varied, and for that reason our research projects here at the CoE cover a broad range of topics.
We rigorously study depression, and alcohol and substance abuse, which are among the strongest risk factors for suicide. Other studies are specific to populations such as Veterans of Vietnam, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. We are also expanding our research on suicidal behavior among women Veterans. Conditions that are known to affect Veterans, such as PTSD and Gulf War Illness, are also part of our research agenda.
We are looking at the specific problems faced by older Veterans, particularly those who are living in or transitioning from nursing homes. We are also conducting trials such as a brief therapy intervention for hospitalized Veterans.
The CoE is also conducting exciting collaborative research with the National Veterans Crisis Line. Evaluating the benefits of stress reduction techniques, sleep therapy, meditation and spirituality is another part of what we do.
These are just some of the research projects that the CoE is currently leading. We are moving forward in collaboration with our many public and private institutional partners, including other VA and military research centers.
As I have stressed throughout this series, suicide is complex. But I am confident that VA’s comprehensive research and suicide prevention efforts will lead to solid solutions and better outcomes for Veterans.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, reach out and call 1-800-273-8255. Veterans and Servicemembers, press 1. You can also chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net, or send a text message to 838255. Confidential support from caring VA responders is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
About the author: Kenneth R. Conner, PsyD, MPH, directs the VA VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention. He also co-directs the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where he is a professor in psychiatry.