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Presentation on emergent themes in suicide prevention from a 52-episode podcast series titled Seeking the Military Suicide Solution. Presented at the 2021 VA/DOD Suicide Prevention Conference 20 May 2021

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Emergent Themes from the STMSS Podcast

  1. 1. Talking About What Works Emergent Themes from a Military-Affiliated Suicide Prevention Podcast Series Duane K. L. France, MA, MBA, LPC Shauna Springer, PhD
  2. 2. Learning Objectives Using communication technology to share suicide prevention concepts Identify and discuss emergent themes from over 50 conversations from a diverse group of guests Demonstrate the impact and uses of a series of recorded interviews related to suicide prevention
  3. 3. HOSTS Dr. Shauna Springer, PhD • A licensed psychologist and nationally recognized expert on initiatives that benefit the military community. • Known as “Doc Springer”, she is a trusted advisor for a vast network of veterans, military families and fellow thought leaders. • A frequent media source, Dr. Springer’s work has been featured on CNN, VICE, NPR, NBC, CBS Radio, Business Insider, Psychology Today, Military.com, Forbes, Military Times, and multiple news stories about current events. Duane K. L. France, MA, MBA, LPC • A retired Army Noncommissioned Officer, combat veteran, and Licensed Professional Counselor practicing in Colorado Springs, Colorado. • Manages community and government relations for a large multi-site outpatient behavioral health clinic specializing in supporting service members, veterans, and their families. • Author and digital media producer, Mr. France has developed and hosted a range of podcasts focusing on service member, veteran, and military family mental health
  4. 4. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement. Concept • A limited-series podcast highlighting a wide range of guests which include subject matter experts, loss and attempt survivors, caregivers, and resource providers • Highlight work being done at the local, state, and national level by individuals and organizations in the public, private, governmental, and nonprofit sectors • Based on a holistic approach to suicide prevention using a public health approach and across the military affiliated population: currently serving military, veterans, and their family members • Each show is approximately 30 minutes long • Features an introduction of the guest, the guest interview, and topic recap and reflection conversation following the interview • Research and resources highlighted by the guests provided in show notes linked to each podcast episode • Each episode available on all podcast players, through your desktop / mobile web browser, and as a stand-alone app for Apple and Android
  5. 5. Development
  6. 6. MEDIA AND DISTRIBUTION PARTNER The Hosts of the Seeking the Military Suicide Solution have entered into an agreement with Military Times to promote and distribute the podcast as part of their news and information to the military community The Military Times group comprises Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times. Established in 1940, Military Times has earned its role as part of the fabric of the U.S. military community, playing an important role as the premier, dedicated, independent news source for the active-duty military, their families, veteran and retirees. The Military Times brands serve a vast digital, mobile and social media audience, as well as strong print readership. Each of the Military Times brands are specifically focused for the needs, interests and culture of their particular military service. Other national media have come to rely on Military Times for groundbreaking journalism about the military community, and frequently pick up news first reported on our media platforms. Media Partner
  7. 7. • Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen: PREVENTS Task Force • Dr. Craig Bryan: National Center for Veteran Studies • Dr. Matt Miller: VA Office of Suicide Prevention • Cicely Burrows-McElwain: VA/DOD Collaboration • Dr. Eugene Lipov: Stellate Ganglion Block for PTSD • Joe Chenelly: AMVETS • Kayla Williams: Center for a New American Security • Kacie Kelly: Warrior Wellness Alliance • Dr. Rajeev Ramchand: Suicide Prevention Research • Howard and Jean Somers: Suicide Prevention Advocacy • Mark Divine: Unbeatable Mind • Dr. Nick Polizzi Warriors Campaign • Kim Ruocco: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors • Cheree Tham: Operation Deep Dive • Sarah Verardo: Operation Resiliency • Terri Tanielian: Suicide Prevention Research • Erin Esquer: Military Leadership and Suicide Prevention • Dr. Keita Franklin: Systems Approach to Suicide Prevention • MG(R) Mark Graham: Vets4Warriors • Dr Kate Hendricks Thomas: Resilience Development • Betsey Mercado: Objective Zero • Dr Karin Orvis: Defense Suicide Prevention Office • Dr. Tina Atherall: PsychArmor • RADM Matt Kleiman: Suicide Prevention in the National Guard • Sue Freeth: Combat Stress UK • Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen: PREVENTS Update • Mat Bergendahl: Stack Up Overwatch Program • Tom Cruz: Attempt Survivor and Suicide Prevention Advocate • Rear Adm(R) Tony Kurta: Policy Approach to Suicide Prevention • Rick Trimp: Gatekeeper Suicide Intervention Training • Akshay Nanavati: Fearvana • Michelle Zook: Suicide in Military and Veteran Spouses • Dr. Matt Mishkind: Reducing Barriers to Care through Telehealth • Joe Bartozzi: National Shooting Sports Foundation • Mike Richardson and Dr Roger Brooks: Wounded Warrior Project • Sgt Maj Bryan Battaglia: Suicide Prevention at the Senior Enlisted Leader Level • Dr Pete Gutierrez: Research on Community Based Suicide Prevention • Congressman Scott Perry: Legislative and Policy Approach to Suicide Prevention • Dr Jeff Smith and Dr Michael Doidge: Historical Aspects of Military and Veteran Suicide • David Bachmann: Peer Support in Suicide Prevention • Kim Donohue: Suicide Prevention at the State and Local Level • COL(R) Rob Swanson: Life Worth Living After a Non • Cpt Michael Kanaan: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Suicide Prevention • Dr. Amy Taft: Suicide Prevention in Children of Military Families • Danica Thomas: Suicide Loss Survivor and Advocate • Dr Harold Kudler: Historical Perspective on Suicide Prevention • Michael Sugrue: Similarities Between Veteran and First Responder Suicide • Dr. Bridget Matarazzo: Risk Identification and Clinical Consultation for Suicide Prevention • Chris Jachimiec: Listener Response to STMSS Series • Jamie Mustard: The Way Forward Guests
  8. 8. Genuine Connectedness Saves Lives Overview • Suicide is a complex issue that requires a coordinated community response • Every individual and organization has a role to play in preventing SMVF Suicide in their community
  9. 9. Risk Factors and Warning Signs (32 quotes) By the time a service member gets to the point where they're suffering so much that they come forward and say, “I'm not okay,” It’s very common for a lot of other things in their lives to be negatively impacted by their struggles, right? Their relationships, their work, , their friendships, and other things. And then it's like a snowball effect. We've got to get it way, way, way ahead before it's negatively impacting their whole world, and then it's more difficult to recover when you're falling apart in all areas of your life I think it's more of like the perfect storm scenario. I think most people go through this and they have this grief in them, and then there's little bitty things that just work up to create this perfect storm. And then, you know, Marines, aren't scared to pull the trigger. So kinda is what it is. But I think people seek help from, from people who can't relate. I think lots of time guys try to talk to their wives or a family member or somebody that hasn't been where we've been. Emergent Themes
  10. 10. Importance of Connectedness (14 quotes) I truly believe in my heart of hearts that every single Airman who has been a part of my circle needs to have at least one person they feel like they can rely on. If that person is not you, that's okay. At least encourage them. If it's not going to be you that they trust to talk to, encourage them to speak to that one person, and maybe you connect with that one person that they can support them. But connection is huge because like I said, in my experience, most of it has been people want to be heard without being judged. Everybody plays a role in suicide prevention, and that. It's everybody's responsibility too. So it's not just our behavioral health or mental health providers. It's not just our chaplains or spiritual leaders. It is you. It is me. It is our supervisor. Everybody has this role. And we can do simple things…a critical thing we can all be doing is staying connected with one another. Being there for each other, checking in with each other. There's so many different mechanisms in which we can do that. The phone call, a text, doing a zoom video, just so many options. So that's the first thing we can all do is be connected with one another. Ask if folks are doing okay. Emergent Themes
  11. 11. Reaching Out To Support (21 quotes) So often when we get phone calls, the caller will think that they're the only one that struggled with this. So they do feel isolated… So we help them, we say, “Hey, look…this is pretty normal with what you're going through, so let's figure this out together. Let's work together on this.” And then we connect them to resources, we follow up and see how that's going. And we continue to work with them. Cause one thing we want them to know is that there is help. And there's hope. We don't want folks to feel like they're all alone and isolated and by themselves because they're not. A very, very important question. Everybody you says, you know, you see somebody and say, “Hey, how you doing?” And you're not really asking, how are you doing? So one of the things that we asked our family and friends after we lost Daniel was to ask us, “how are you doing today?” It's an entirely different question. Emergent Themes
  12. 12. Reducing Stigma (25 quotes) I work with firefighters paramedics, law enforcement, and there is a large percentage that are prior military. And I immediately go back to when I was getting out of the military and I wanted to go into law enforcement. And when you're doing that, you're applying for new jobs, you're going through background processes. You're going through medical screenings, maybe psychological screenings. And oftentimes you don't want to share or relive what happened in the military, because you're trying to forget about that. And you're trying to move on and get this new career and basically have a fresh start. But the reality is there is no fresh start. It's okay not to be okay. I heard that first from my own Commandant General Amos. I believe it's significantly helped overcome this stigma which still raises its ugly head. To say that, it gave me as a Marine some reassurance with my own injuries and knowing that I can no longer operate at a hundred percent. It reassured me that I was able to function at, still enabled me to contribute and be on this team called the joint team or the U S MC team. And knowing that it's okay not to be okay. Emergent Themes
  13. 13. Coordination and Collaboration (19 quotes) Community collaboration, coordination, collective impact, it has to happen all the way up the line. And it's challenging because everybody has their work to do. And so unless there is a coordinated effort, which is what PREVENTS is trying to ensure that yes, do your good work over there in your space, but let's make sure we have the doors open so that silos don't prevent us from sharing and interacting. I would love to see the big organizations, like you mentioned, like SAMHSA and all of these guys that are supposed to be policy and procedure makers, just like we did in the military. You always had your higher chain of command, of your orders and who tells you what to do. And it gets all the way down to the little guy who’s got to do it on the ground. And there's always a disconnect in between there. What's really got to get done and who gets what done? Emergent Themes
  14. 14. Public Health Approach (19 quotes) People, I hear people talk about wanting to get left of boom, but I’m not sure that folks know how to do that or what to do. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that VA can be beneficial is that VA, if you get into the VA system there are a lot of types of support within VA across it’s different administrations and types of programs that you’re not going to get from standard health insurance or at a standard doctor’s office, right? If you ask and sometimes have to ask again, but you can get connected with not just medical care, not just mental health care, but in a growing number of VA medical centers have like medical, legal partnerships. So you can get linked up with pro bono legal services. If you have legal problems, you can get help with financial issues if you get disability compensation or access to your GI bill. Right? So these other things that are getting at your overall quality of life. That public health approach is particularly helpful because I think that brings in all of those social determinants of health and we get beyond just to focus on mental health care, but the whole person health, which I think resiliency and the whole person health and the public health viewpoint all kind of fit together pretty well. Emergent Themes
  15. 15. Lethal Means Safety (11 quotes) Personally. I really think there's a sense of relief that we're actually talking about this. We know the statistics, right? Two thirds of all firearms related fatalities in this country, two thirds suicide. Not homicide. Accidents are at the lowest point since they've been keeping records for 115 years. Accident deaths by firearms is three tenths of a percent, homicides have been going down, but suicides have not been going down. We see the amount of interest amongst, for example, firearm retailers on this topic…it's extremely gratifying and shows that, you know what? There's an appetite for this education. What struck me most coming along to the conference was that the means were so very different in the UK, when people finally get to that point, than they are in the States. Kind of the elephant in the room bit, I guess. The lack of or reduced access to firearms clearly has a significant difference with UK veterans than it might do in the States where they're much more widely available. The highest likelihood is suffocation or hanging in the UK for those who take their own life, as opposed to firearms, a considerably greater number in the States. Emergent Themes
  16. 16. Treatment (16 quotes) That’s the importance of the additive model of the public health approach. It’s important that you do have those clinically based interventions available and access to those clinically based interventions. But you know what, although there’s a relationship between depression and suicide, there’s not always a relationship between suicide and depression. So you need to be able to have the clinically based interventions that address depression, that address substance use disorder that address relationship problems and issues. But you also need to have the community based intervention approach where all of us are looking out for each other and all of us are ready to engage when we see something. When you're talking about suicide, you're typically not dealing with a population that you have a lot of people in crisis at any one time. So it's really about getting care in place early and often. So when someone's starting to experience the stress that may come from the multiple hats they wear within the National Guard the stress of the mission, balancing all that with what may be happening at home in their personal life, You really have to look at having that person get access to services and care within their community that they can leverage. Emergent Themes
  17. 17. Impact of Suicide Loss (15 quotes) I said, you know, all right guys, well we'll talk soon. And my husband would essentially say, and I'm paraphrasing, but started to say, “well, I'll see you guys at the next one.” And he didn't finish his sentence, but the only time they were gathering really was to send another paratrooper to heaven. And it was devastating to understand that. We should never stop listening to the families, the surviving families. I never miss an opportunity to stress this to every new and up and coming leader. I tell them, do not miss an opportunity to listen to the families and listen to their stories and learn from their stories and apply what you can based on what you're learning to improve the policies that we make, the trainings that are put in place, the research agendas that we design. That should always be our starting point. Emergent Themes
  18. 18. Impact
  19. 19. • Academic Settings: College courses on military and veteran culture assign as additional material • Advocacy and Awareness: Educating communities and stakeholders on suicide prevention • Therapeutic Settings: Clinicians have shared episodes with clients to normalize experiences • Research Settings: Identify future areas of interest for further research • Supervisory Settings: Share with interns and new professionals for developmental concepts • Healing Insights: Accessible format for members of the military affiliated community Stone, D. M., Holland, K. M., Bartholow, B. N., Crosby, A. E., Davis, S. P., & Wilkins, N. (2017). Preventing suicide: A technical package of policies, programs, and practice. Alignment and Potential Uses
  20. 20. Scan here to access this resource Resource https://mailchi.mp/suicidology.org/milvet-case-study-series.
  21. 21. Medal of Honor Recipient Forum
  22. 22. Questions and Contact @dklfrance duane@veteranmentalhealth.com www.drshaunaspringer.com @docshaunaspringer @Doc_Springer @docshaunaspringer @ThCounselingVet www.veteranmentalhealth.com @head_space_and_timing

Presentation on emergent themes in suicide prevention from a 52-episode podcast series titled Seeking the Military Suicide Solution. Presented at the 2021 VA/DOD Suicide Prevention Conference 20 May 2021

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