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From The CriticsReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: In an effort to develop a tool for clinicians to use in the assessment of suicidal patients, the author presents an approach known as the Collaborative Assessment of Management of Suicidality (CAMS).
Purpose: Despite the advancing literature about suicide, there remains relatively little for clinicians to use reliably in the approach to managing suicide risk. This book attempts to address this area using a comprehensive and collaborative tool for mental health providers.
Audience: While of interest to anyone in the field of mental health, this book is primarily written for those individuals on the front lines, treating the mentally ill, and more specifically, those with either chronic or acute suicidal ideation.
Features: Beginning with an overview of what knowledge is lacking in the area of suicidal assessment and treatment, and progressing through the presentation of the CAMS risk assessment tool (including the Suicide Status Form-III) and its implementation and utilization, this book also includes numerous appendixes containing forms and coding instructions for this system.
Assessment: Though I have only a passing familiarity with other instruments used in the assessment of suicidality, I have read much of the literature on suicide assessment and treatment, and agree a more structured and thorough approach to this problem might lead to improved understanding and outcomes for these patients. This proposed system is both complete and has the benefit of being able to be modified to fit the individual circumstances of each patient regarding the nature of their suicidal ideation. The comprehensive approach could prove quite useful clinically, though my primary concerns regarding this approach are its cumbersome nature and the relative lack of data for more chronic patient populations who generally are the most challenging to treat. I look forward to reading additional data as this system is tested on other populations to determine its overall reliability and validity.