This is my 500th blog post. I wanted it to be memorable. And it will be, I hope, to me anyways.
I thought I would talk about David Jobes. He is my idol in the field of suicidology. I talk a lot about his work on my blog because I want to spread the word that there are treatment plans and assessment scales available for those who are suicidal. It took twenty-five years for this to happen. It might not catch on like DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) did for borderline personality disorder but I am hoping that through my blog, someone has at least an inkling about it.
His work is CAMS: the Collaborating Assessment and Managing of Suicide. It is a framework that allows the suicidal patient/client to work with the therapist in his or her treatment plan. By working together, therapist and client, it is hoped that suicidal thinking will decrease enough so a completed suicide is avoided. This does not mean that the suicidal thinking will go away completely. Nor does it totally prevent a suicide. During one of his talks, he spoke of a clinician in Texas that followed the CAMS and the assessment tool, SSF (suicide Status Form) to the letter with one of his suicidal clients. The client ended up killing himself. The clinician did everything that he could. But sometimes, there is still the risk.
The SSF is a seven page form that uses an initial, tracking, and outcome form to monitor and assess suicidality. It is based on the work of several clinicians. I won’t go into great detail about this because you can find out more in Dr. Jobes’s book, Managing Suicidal Risk. The link it to the Amazon website where you can purchase it. I would love to post the SSF one day but I would be violating copyrights, though in the book you can make copies of the form. I just can’t do it electronically, yet.
The wonderful thing about this form is that it is a self report about the client’s thinking about suicide and also has clinical information in the end so that both client and clinician fill it out to assess and document the suicide risk. It doesn’t take more than 10-15 minutes to fill it out (might take longer if the person has trouble understanding reading and writing English or has a disability that prevents that from happening, such as dyslexia). It is individualized for the client and that is a huge thing Jobes tries to do. It is not a fit all in one box, so to speak. It should broaden the thinking of the client and clinician to help bring together and work together to prevent the client from committing suicide. In the SSF, it talks about reasons for living and dying, assess psychological pain, hopelessness, the need to escape, and also asks the question, what would make you not kill yourself? I have used this form in my therapy sessions and that is the first question my therapist asks me when I am in the throws of a suicidal crisis, which happens more times than not for various reasons.
Mostly it has been my word that has kept me alive and I do hate myself for it at times. I have told my therapist that I would keep myself safe and I have, though sometimes, I overmedicate to do so.
Background information of Jobes is that he is a professor at the Catholic University of America and also has a private practice in the Washington, D.C. He has written in at least a half dozen books (some of which I own, if I could afford it I would own all) and countless research articles relating to his work and also to the field of suicidology. He not only write about his work but also about the legality and ethical matters of dealing with a suicidal client.