The Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS): An Evolving Evidence-Based Clinical Approach to Suicidal Risk

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The Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) is an evidence-based clinical intervention that has significantly evolved over 25 years of clinical research. CAMS is best understood as a therapeutic framework that emphasizes a unique collaborative assessment and treatment planning process between the suicidal patient and clinician. This process is designed to enhance the therapeutic alliance and increase treatment motivation in the suicidal patient. Central to the CAMS approach is the use of the Suicide Status Form (SSF), which is a multipurpose clinical assessment, treatment planning, tracking, and outcome tool. The original development of CAMS was largely rooted in SSF-based quantitative and qualitative assessment of suicidal risk. As this line of research progressed, CAMS emerged as a problem-focused clinical intervention that is designed to target and treat suicidal “drivers” and ultimately eliminate suicidal coping. To date, CAMS (and the clinical use of the SSF) has been supported by six published correlational studies and one randomized clinical trial (RCT). Currently, two well-powered RCTs are under way, and various new CAMS-related projects are also being pursued. The clinical and empirical evolution of CAMS—how it was developed and what are the next steps for this clinical approach–are described here.

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