September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Dr. David Jobes hopes to offer an alternative to hospital stays and medically assisted suicide.
“I think it needs to be thoughtfully done. And I think just because someone’s depressed and lonely that they should not be necessarily assisted in their suicide. So to me, it’s obviously very controversial. And for me, I’m focused on the people who are struggling, who we can help with, interventions like mine and the other interventions that are in the field. So I’m about giving people second and third and fourth chances that haven’t quite decided that this is the thing they should do. So that tends to be my focus,” Jobes told Fox News Digital.
Jobes is the founder of the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) program with over 30 years of experience in clinical psychology. He explained that rather than focus on medication, his intervention training focuses on recognizing “drivers” behind suicide like a lost job or relationship.
“In our intervention, we target and treat those drivers, and we don’t necessarily eradicate them. We shift them in such a way that they feel like maybe I don’t have to kill myself. And so it’s just a just noticeable difference that I come in looking at suicide this way as my only solution and after six or eight sessions and now looking at it this way. And what we find is the biggest effect in CAMS is increasing hope and decreasing hopelessness. And we like that finding because when there’s hope, there’s always a way that people can find a life worth living or purpose of meaning,” Jobes said.
CAMS’s website describes the intervention as “a therapeutic framework for suicide-specific assessment and treatment of a patient’s suicidal risk and “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.”
Jobes emphasized that many hospitals and clinics are too focused on treating “mental disorders” rather than suicidal ideation.
“Most hospital stays are very brief… They’re focused on mental disorders and not necessarily on suicide risk, and that the primary intervention in a hospital setting is medication. And interesting, medication, ironically, has not been proven to be effective necessarily with suicidal ideation attempt behaviors,” Jobes said.
By contrast, he said, “In my intervention, we asked the patient, ‘What makes you want to kill yourself?’ And that’s what we target and treat and intervention in. Overwhelmingly, what we see in the research is that people are suicidal because of their relationships or what they do or their self-esteem or lack thereof. And those are actually really treatable issues. And we see that in the clinical trials across the age ranges and in different settings and different populations.”
In light of National Suicide Prevention Day, Dr. Jobes encouraged more efforts to not only raise awareness but encourage the proper treatment.
“The idea is that you can be a lifesaving agent in this person’s life to get in the proper treatment, the suicide-focused care that I’ve been talking about that could actually get them through a really dark moment and pursue a life worth living, a purpose of meaning. And that’s the goal of suicide prevention,” Jobes concluded.
Jobes also previously served as a research consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has been a consultant to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institute of Mental Health, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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