Suicide Prevention Training in Military & VA Settings

The CAMS clinician endeavors to understand their patient’s suffering from an empathic, non-judgmental perspective

Providers in Over 30 Military INstallations and VA CEnters Have Been Trained in cAMS

For many years, CAMS has been successfully trained to providers who work in military treatment facilities (MTF’s) across service branches. The increase in suicidal ideation and behaviors in military personnel in the last ten years created a need for an effective intervention that could be adapted for use with this patient population. The flexible format and structured approach to assessment and treatment of suicidal risk inherent in CAMS has proven to be a good fit for both providers and patients in military behavioral health care settings.

Clinical trial research has shown CAMS to be highly effective in eliminating suicidal ideation among US Air Force personnel (Jobes et al., 2005) and US Army Soldiers (Jobes, Comtois, Gutierrez, Brenner et al 2017). There is evidence that CAMS reduces emergency department visits and overall symptom distress while increasing resiliency in certain sub-groups of service members (Huh et al., 2018). CAMS has been trained to MTF providers in over 30 military installations across the United States.

Similarly, CAMS has been successfully trained and used within Veterans Affairs treatment settings for many years with suicidal veterans. Indeed, the VA Center of Excellence engaged Dr. Jobes to train across 8 VA Medical Centers that make up “VISN-7” (a network of hospitals in Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama). Beyond this major training effort, similar CAMS training has been conducted in over 20 other VA Medical Centers and outpatient settings across the United States over the past 15 years.

For more information about options for training in CAMS for military behavioral health care providers or VA mental health care providers, please contact us.


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Why is CAMS the best choice for suicide prevention?
CAMS stands for the “Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality” (CAMS). CAMS is first and foremost a clinical philosophy of care. It is a therapeutic framework for suicide-specific assessment and treatment of a patient’s suicidal risk. It is a flexible approach that can be used across theoretical orientations and disciplines for a wide range of suicidal patients across treatment settings and different treatment modalities.
What makes CAMS effective for military personnel and veterans?

With its patient-centered approach and emphasis on identifying and treating patient-defined “suicidal drivers,” CAMS has been shown to be highly effective with suicidal service members and veterans.  We believe some of this effectiveness comes from the collaborative experience of developing a new mission–to save their life from suicide. Members of the military community and veterans are highly familiar with a mission-oriented approach to challenges and the CAMS approach capitalizes on this sensibility. In other words, suicidal drivers are targeted and treated in the singular pursuit of eliminating suicidal risk to pursue a life worth living with purpose and meaning.

Our treatment center mainly runs groups for our patients. Can I use CAMS in a group setting?
We currently have studies underway to explore the efficacy of using CAMS in groups. At this time we do not recommend using CAMS in groups, but would encourage you to review the section in the CAMS Book that discusses the research underway regarding the use of CAMS in groups. We hope to have more information about our findings within the next year, so please check our website for updates.

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