Managing and Assessing Suicidality With the CAMS Framework


Video segments in e-CAMS were modeled after the assessment, management, monitoring, and resolution (resolution is three sessions with no suicidal behavior) processes of a 12-session CAMS intervention.  The patient was role played by a veteran, and the clinician by Jobes. Other diversity-specific video segments included CAMS delivery with a geriatric and a female, Hispanic veteran and VA providers.19 Interactivity was increased by the participants completing the SSF forms to assess and monitor the suicidality and track outcomes for the video segments. The participants received six continuing education unit credits.  

As the science of CAMS continues to expand, exciting new training opportunities are in development including a revision of the original CAMS manual5 and a new interactive e-learning and consultation model developed by Jobes.

In summary, CAMS is an effective intervention for intervening with those at risk for suicide. There is now evidence to support the impact on patient and provider outcomes and additional studies are in process within the U.S. and other countries. CAMS is adaptable to a multitude of clinical settings and populations, and training is applicable for interprofessional mental health clinicians.

Given the magnitude of suicide mortality and morbidity, it is critical that clinicians be trained and coached to adopt systematic, suicide-specific evidence-based interventions, such as CAMS. For those interventions to be the most effective, mental health systems need to focus on suicide-specific performance improvement, a culture of safety, and the assessment and facilitation of systems change.

Janet York, PhD, PMHCS-BC, FAAN, is the Director of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina, and an adjunct research professor of nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina.


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