Suicidology Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Get answers to our most common questions
What is CAMS?
CAMS stands for the ‘Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality’. CAMS is first and foremost a clinical philosophy of care. It is a therapeutic framework for suicide-specific assessment and treatment of a service user’s suicidal risk. It is a flexible approach that can be used across theoretical orientations and disciplines for a wide range of suicidal service users across treatment settings and different treatment modalities.


My organisation uses electronic health records. Is there an electronic version of the SSF? Can I make a template for my system?
Guilford Press, the publisher of the CAMS book, Managing Suicidal Risk: a Collaborative Approach, 3rd Edition by Dr. David Jobes, owns the copyright to the Suicide Status Form. We have created a number of electronic versions of the SSF that can be used with electronic health records. Please contact us for more details and we ask that you do not create your own template.


CAMS is not just a screening or risk management tool, so what else does it do?
Beyond merely assessing suicidal risk, CAMS is a proven clinical intervention that reliably and effectively treats service user-defined suicidal drivers leading to rapid reductions in suicidal ideation, overall symptom distress, depression, and hopelessness. In addition, there are promising data for decreasing suicide attempts and self-harm behaviours. These results are based on eight published clinical trials, six published randomised controlled trials (RCTs), and four RCTs currently in process.
This is the first time I'm hearing about CAMS. Is CAMS considered a best practice?
Yes, the US Joint Commission (similar to NICE guidelines in the UK) issued a Sentinel Event Alert 56 Suicide in 2016, titled Detecting and Treating Suicidal Ideation in all Settings, which recommended CAMS for treatment planning to directly target suicidality. CAMS was identified as one of three “evidence-based clinical approaches that help to reduce suicidal thoughts and behaviours.” CAMS is listed in the Zero Suicide Toolkit as an evidence-based treatment.

In 2017, the CDC, America’s Health Protection Agency, released Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices. CAMS was identified as a treatment for people at risk of suicide (page 37).

What are the components of CAMS Foundational Training?
The CAMS book: Managing Suicidal Risk: A Collaborative Approach, the CAMS Online Video, CAMS Practical Role-Play Training and CAMS supervision calls.
Who should get training in CAMS?
Mental health providers who provide crisis prevention, work in inpatient areas, accident and emergency departments and intensive outpatient programs including liaison teams, resilience hubs, frontline therapists, psychologists, counsellors and emergency or crisis responders.
Do you offer accreditation in CAMS?
Yes. We offer both CAMS Trained and CAMS Accredited designation across the UK.
How long does it take to become proficient at using CAMS with service users?
Research has shown that clinicians can become adherent in the use of CAMS with their first service user within four sessions.
Do you have a Train-the-Trainer program?
No. For quality and effectiveness of the CAMS treatment, a Train-the-Trainer program is not authorised for the use of CAMS. CAMS-care UK is dedicated to adherence to the CAMS evidence-base. All CAMS-care UK trainers have worked extensively with Dr. Jobes and receive regular updates to apply the latest CAMS research to the training. It is not uncommon for the quality of training protocols to become less adherent when incorporated into a Train-the-Trainer training model. While this may be acceptable for some types of training, when dealing with the management and treatment of suicide risk it is not.
We have funding or are planning to submit a grant proposal. Could we work with CAMS-care to set up a training with these funds?
Yes, CAMS is an excellent evidence-based suicide-specific clinical intervention that can be well-suited for suicide prevention efforts.
I am planning on taking (or I have taken) the online video course. Do I really need the book too?
Though the online video course provides an excellent introduction and overview to CAMS, the book is the primary source for detailed information and instruction regarding CAMS. Since access to the online course is limited to 60 days, the book is the perfect complement to the online course.
My organisation will be offering the online video course to our staff. Can we purchase access and show it to everyone in a group setting?
No, that would be a direct violation of the terms of use. The online course is intended to be an individual training experience not a group training experience.
The online video course was useful but I would like to return to it in the future to refresh my memory once I start using CAMS with a service user. Is there any other way to get access to the information about CAMS in the video once my access has expired?
Yes, detailed information about CAMS, including the use of the SSF and the CAMS therapeutic worksheet, research supporting the efficacy of CAMS, completed examples of the SSF, and recommendations for using CAMS with patients are all available in Managing Suicidal Risk: A Collaborative Approach. We recommend purchasing the book as a companion piece to taking the online course as we feel it is an excellent resource to support ongoing use of CAMS in your practice.

For more information, contact us.

Where can I get more copies of the SSF?
There are two ways to have access to SSF copies. One way is through purchase and ownership of the Guilford Press book Managing Suicidal Risk: A Collaborative Approach 3rd Ed, which enables a provider to access a web-based version of the tool or to photocopy the document directly from the book as per the limited copyright permission that is afforded by owning the book. Alternatively, you may access the SSF through the CAMS-care UK online training course which permits a provider personal access to and use of the SSF.
Do you have the SSF in other languages? Where can I get copies?
The SSF has been translated into other languages. For more information, contact us.
My organisation uses electronic health records. Is there an electronic version of the SSF? Can I make a template for my system?
The existing two-decade evidence base for CAMS comes from the written-hard-copy-use of the Suicide Status Form and our research shows that writing is different than typing. That said, there is an increased demand for an electronic version of the Suicide Status Form, particularly in these days of social distancing.

It should be noted that Guilford Press, the publisher of Managing Suicidal Risk, a Collaborative Approach, 3rd Edition, owns the copyright of the SSF. If you have purchased the book or the CAMS-care foundational video, you have a license to use the SSF. However, if you have a group of clinicians using the SSF and interfacing with an EMR, we strongly suggest that you contact CAMS-care so we can work with you and Guilford to obtain a license for the SSF. Please visit our contact us page.

We have a number of promising approaches for using eSSFs with electronic medical records. The first involves using a tablet and stylus that replicates the hard-copy experience using PowerPoint that captures handwriting into text as well as creating a PDF of the ‘written’ document. The PDF and text file of each session can then be uploaded to your Electronic Medical Record system. This approach was developed in conjunction with Microsoft and requires Windows 10 and Office 365.

The second approach is a fillable PDF that can be supplied with Guilford’s permission. Please visit our contact us page.

Any other attempt to make an electronic SSF template is not only a direct violation of copyright law, but such a misuse of the CAMS assessment and treatment materials is no longer backed by research or an evidence base. Until you have rigorously studied your inconsistent use of the CAMS framework, you cannot be certain it will be effective. The SSF should always be administered collaboratively between the provider and patient consistent with adherence to the evidence-based approach described in our training and the Guilford Press source book.

It is the goal of Guilford and CAMS-care to provide the SSF to as many clinicians as possible so that it can be used to save lives through effective care knowing that those clinicians have received sufficient training in the use of the form.

I am interested in attending a role-play training. Are you offering one in my community?
For more information, contact us.
Would you send someone to our organisation to lead a role-play training or do we have to travel to you?
For more information, contact us.
We are a small organisation but would like to arrange for our staff to attend role play training. Do you offer trainings for small groups?
For more information, contact us.
I am not sure our staff will be able to attend a day long role-play training; does that mean we will not be able to use CAMS with our patients?
No, we have many organisations that opt to complete foundational training in CAMS by having staff read the book, take the online course, and attend a series of supervision calls. We have also split our online role play training into half-day sessions to fit with the needs of organisations. Please complete our enquiry form and we will be happy to contact you to discuss the options available.
Still have a question?

The CAMS-care UK team is happy to discuss your questions or provide more information to assist you.  Please fill out our contact form and we will do our best to respond promptly within two working days.