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Keywords:

  • suicide;
  • attempted suicide;
  • psychotherapy;
  • risk assessment;
  • crisis intervention;
  • feasibility studies;
  • clinical trial

Abstract

Background: Despite the ubiquity of suicidality in behavioral health settings, empirically supported interventions for suicidality are surprisingly rare. Given the importance of resolving suicidality and therapists' anxieties about treating suicidal patients, there is a clear need for innovative services and clinical approaches. The purpose of the current study was an attempt to address some of these needs by examining the feasibility and use of a new intervention called the “Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality” (CAMS) within a “Next-Day Appointment” (NDA) outpatient treatment setting. Methods: As part of a larger feasibility study, n = 32 suicidal patients were randomly assigned to CAMS care versus Enhanced Care as Usual (E-CAU) in an outpatient crisis intervention setting attached to a safety net hospital. Intent to treat suicidal patients were seen and assessed before, during, and after treatment (with follow-up assessments conducted at 2, 4, 6, and 12 months). Results: The feasibility of using CAMS in the NDA setting was clear; both groups appeared to initially benefit from their respective treatments in terms of decreased suicidal ideation and overall symptom distress. Although patients rated both treatments favorably, the CAMS group had significantly higher satisfaction and better treatment retention than E-CAU. At 12 months post-treatment, CAMS patients showed significantly better and sustained reductions in suicidal ideation, overall symptom distress, and increased hope in comparison to E-CAU patients. Conclusions: CAMS was both feasible in this NDA setting and effective in treating suicidal ideation, distress, and hopelessness (particularly at 12 months followup). Depression and Anxiety, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.