The Catholic University of America

Sept. 15, 2011

Psychology Professor Presents Suicide Research to Congress

  Suicide conference
  CUA Professor David Jobes (second from right) speaks about his experiences studying suicide prevention over the last 28 years in a private House Members Roundtable on Sept. 14.

Professor of Psychology and suicidologist David Jobes gave briefings to members and staff of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, Sept. 14, as part of an initiative co-sponsored by the National Center for Veterans Studies (at the University of Utah) and the American Psychological Association.

In observance of National Suicide Prevention Month, Jobes spoke about his experiences studying suicide prevention over the last 28 years in a private House Members Roundtable and later spoke to a standing-room-only public crowd at a Senate briefing.

“In my career I have not encountered a more challenging development than recent increases in suicide among members of the U.S. military,” Jobes said at the briefing. “We have seen that courageous warriors find it difficult to admit having mental health problems — perceiving it to be a sign of weakness and vulnerability.

“We must not turn our backs on those courageous Americans who have volunteered to serve their country to fight for our freedom,” he said. “For what they do for us, we owe them nothing less than our best possible commitment to this important life-saving cause.”

Jobes has worked with veterans since the early 1980s. He has also collaborated with active members of the military in suicide research, training, and prevention programs. Last year, he served as one of seven civilians on a 14-member Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Task Force, which submitted a report to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in August 2010.

The task force found that “access to quality mental health care is crucial, but this requires mental health adaptations to the unique challenges of contemporary military mental health needs,” Jobes said at the briefing.
He is on the forefront of studying these adaptations. Thanks to a $3.4 million grant from the Army, he and a research team from CUA are working with suicidal soldiers at Fort Stewart, a U.S. Army base in Georgia. The project — named Operation Worth Living — involves a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of Jobes’ Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) approach to the prevention of suicide.

The study began in March and runs through April 2015. It involves active-duty service members from the 3rd Infantry Division of the Army, many of whom have been deployed to combat zones multiple times since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

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