Texas Tech Psychology Chair to Head $1.97 Million Suicide Study for Defense Department
April 2, 2009
By: John Davis
Researchers to test a short-term program for soldiers reporting suicidal feelings.
The chairman of Texas Tech University's Psychology Department will head a $1.97
million study for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to test a possible treatment
solution for suicidal veterans.
David Rudd, who has testified twice before Congress about the issues associated with
the large number of veteran suicides, said the three-year study will look to see if
a short-term psychological treatment plan can reduce suicide rates with those who
report feeling suicidal.
He will work in conjunction with the University of Texas Health Sciences Center and
the Warrior Resiliency Program at Brook Army Medical Center, both in San Antonio,
and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
"Suicide rates among veterans are as bad as they've ever been," Rudd said. "For the
first time in history this January, more soldiers died by suicide than in combat.
The problem is fairly complex, but ultimately, we've been in a two-front war now for
six years. There have been high rates of psychological problems associated with that,
and when that occurs, suicide rates increase."
Starting in September, Rudd said he and his team will begin a randomized clinical
trial offering cognitive behavioral psychotherapy to suicidal soldiers at Fort Carson,
"The unique thing about the trial is that it's a time-limited treatment program,"
Rudd said. "This is something that is much more acceptable in a military environment.
The military is not designed to give long-term psychiatric care. When soldiers develop
long-term psychological problems, they have to be discharged. We're not only looking
to see if a three-month treatment program will make a difference to reduce suicide
attempts, but also whether it will allow soldiers to improve enough to stay in the
A March 23 story in the Air Force Times reported veteran suicide rates higher than
the national average for 2008. The Air Force lost 38 airmen to suicide, the Army reported
140 confirmed or suspected suicides and the Navy and Marine Corps each reported 41
CONTACT: David Rudd, chairman, Department of Psychology, Texas Tech University,
(806) 786-0680, or firstname.lastname@example.org.