Each day, approximately 17 veterans die by suicide, according to the 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report. Of those lives lost, 68% die from a self-inflicted firearm injury. Clinician-researchers at the Mount Sinai Health System are working to lower that number, through a new initiative that aims to help concerned family members speak to veterans about safely storing firearms and reducing the risk of self-harm.
The project is led by Marianne Goodman, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and acting director of the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers (MIRECC) at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, a program affiliated with Mount Sinai, along with New York Governor’s Challenge team members.
The MIRECC is a national network of 10 research hubs within the Veteran Integrated Service Network. “The MIRECC is basically a research think tank within the VA,” Dr. Goodman says. “We take a bench-to-bedside approach, conducting genetic and neuroscience research, through clinical trials, and into services research.” Each MIRECC site has its own research focus. At the James J. Peters VA Medical Center and its academic affiliate, Mount Sinai, the program’s faculty and fellows conduct research and outreach focused on severe mental illness and suicide prevention.