Catholic University professor's suicide prevention treatment deemed ‘well supported’ 

shutterstock 1136725880 1 Sign at Catholic University of America. | Bumble Dee/Shutterstock

The Catholic University of America announced this week that an intervention for suicide developed by one of its psychology professors performed well in a recent meta-analysis. 

Professor David Jobes of the school’s psychology department had created the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality, “a therapeutic framework” for treating suicidal patients, the university said in a May 17 press release. 

A recent meta-analysis of clinical trials determined that Jobes’ assessment was “Well Supported for reducing suicidal ideation per Centers for Disease Control criteria.” The framework outperformed alternative interventions in the trials.

Jobes said in a statement on Monday, "We are thrilled with the findings of this meta-analysis."

"Our mission in our treatment research is to save lives through effective suicide-focused clinical care,” Jobes said. 

The CAMS method “quickly reduces suicidal thoughts (in six to eight sessions) and reduces overall symptoms of distress, depression, and hopelessness,” the university said. It added that CAMS emphasizes collaboration with patients, involving them as a "co-author" in their own treatment plans.

The meta-analysis of clinical trials was performed by Joshua Swift, associate professor of clinical psychology at Idaho State University, along with his university colleagues. It was published in the peer-reviewed journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.

Swift and his team reviewed nine national and international studies with data from 749 patients; the CAMS intervention was compared to normal or alternative treatments.

"The results showed that CAMS, in comparison to alternative interventions, resulted in significantly lower suicidal ideation and general distress, considerably higher treatment acceptability, and notably higher hope/lower hopelessness," Swift wrote.

Jobes on Monday said the analysis underlines the importance of treating suicidal ideation.

“The incredibly rigorous work of Dr. Swift and his colleagues clearly shows that CAMS provides highly effective care for the largest challenge we face in suicide prevention today: the massive population of people who struggle with serious suicidal thoughts,” he said. 

Jobes said nearly 20,000 clinicians have been trained in CAMS so far, and added that he hopes “to train many more so we can help decrease suicide-related suffering and deaths around the world."

“CAMS is patient-centric,” Jobes said. “We emphasize empathy, collaboration, honesty, and a singular focus on treating and eliminating suicidal thoughts and behaviors. CAMS creates a strong therapeutic alliance and it also invariably motivates patients to fight for their lives.”

Jobes said the final phase of care in the CAMS framework “focuses on plans, goals, and hope for the future — a life worth living with purpose and meaning.” 

“We often treat relationship issues, vocational problems, and issues of self-worth that make people suicidal,” Jobes said.

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