September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

CAMS-care is committed to providing information and resources to help individuals in the United States and around the world treat suicidal thoughts and prevent this leading cause of death.

We are joined in a singular mission along with mental health advocates, suicide prevention organizations, community members, and survivors of suicide loss to save lives. Together, when we make treatment services more accessible, promote suicide prevention awareness, and prioritize the mental health care of the general public, we will help make a healthier, more hopeful future.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Thoughts Matter

Observing important occasions like National Suicide Prevention Week, September National Suicide Prevention Month, or World Suicide Prevention Day is important – but suicidal distress and mental illness take a toll on individuals all year long.


from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Deaths: In 2019 we lost 47,511 lives to suicide. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals aged 10-34 and the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Attempts: 1,400,000

Planned a suicide: 3,500,000

Serious thoughts of suicide: 12,000,000 adults and 3,000,0002 youth


More resources should be provided to the 15,000,000 people with serious thoughts of suicide to prevent them from planning, attempting, or completing. Let’s work together to reduce suicidal ideation and the risk of suicide.


Suicide prevention is critical to saving lives. But Suicide-Focused Treatment can make a life worth living.

Imagine a world where the 15,000,000 adults and young people suffering from serious thoughts of suicide receive evidence-based treatment that is proven to reduce suicidal ideation, hopelessness, and overall symptom distress, in as few as 6 – 8 sessions! The Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (“CAMS”) is one of a handful of evidence-based suicide-focused treatments being used successfully around the world by thousands of clinicians to do just that.

TeleHealth versus Hospitalization

Too often, current systems for “prevention” involve hospitalizing a person with serious suicidal thoughts, even though hospitalization and certain medications have long been associated with increased suicide risk. For the vast majority of people experiencing suicidal thoughts or a mental health crisis, outpatient treatment is most desirable and effective.

People with serious suicidal thoughts in this nation deserve better treatment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned that many patients prefer talking from the comfort of their own home as it avoids the stress of traveling to an office and the stigma of publicly seeking therapy. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has stated that people experiencing emotional distress can “access care from their homes with more options for safety, privacy, and convenience” through telehelath.

CAMS has been successfully used to support and treat people via telehealth. For more information on using CAMS and the Suicide Status Form with TeleHealth, consult our toolkits:

What’s the Urgency? The Imminent Availability of 988

In less than one year, in June 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will respond to the easy-to-remember, accessible “988” phone number – a suicide and mental health crisis equivalent of the 911 emergency service line.

The Lifeline, and its network of locally owned and operated crisis call centers in communities across the United States, respond to millions of individuals and family members concerned with suicidal distress and mental health emergencies every year. Conservative estimates indicate that the availability of 988 could more than double calls to the Lifeline, overburdening the continuum of available services and straining community’s capacities to manage suicidal individuals.

We must ensure that individuals reaching out for help get exactly what they need. CAMS is an evidence-based program, proven to reduce suicidal ideation. We must do more than identify suicidal individuals, especially when they’re reaching out themselves – we must provide the effective treatment they’re seeking.

Systems of care managing suicidal individuals would benefit from more CAMS-care clinicians and the public can benefit from receiving a robust evidence-based treatment. For more information on CAMS availability in your state, consult the CAMS-care Clinician Locator.

Final Thoughts and Additional Resources

The millions of people living with suicidal thoughts – our friends, family, and community members of all ages – need our help. This past year has been challenging, with social isolation, increased substance use, and exacerbated suicide risk factors.

We at CAMS-care recognize that states and counties are concentrating considerable resources to these major public health threats. But the solution must go beyond funding evidence-informed programs that merely identify suicidal thoughts, without applying an effective treatment. The evidence-based CAMS program gets to the root of the issue, by quickly reducing distress, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts.

That’s why for the entire month of September, and beyond, we are pursuing more effective strategies to improve emotional health, raise awareness of suicide prevention issues, and advance efforts to effectively and innovatively treat thoughts of suicide – because THOUGHTS MATTER and TELEHEALTH can save lives.

And we need to prioritize these issues now.

You can access additional information for World Suicide Prevention Day, Suicide Prevention Week, and National Suicide Prevention Month through the following resources:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline World Suicide Prevention Day Webpage.

  • World Suicide Prevention Day 2021 will be Saturday, September 10.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Suicide Prevention Week Webpage.

1 CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). [Accessed 08/02/2019].

2 SAMHSA 2019 National Survey of Drug Use and Health Release

3 Reference Youth
4 CAMS Meta-Analysis Study

5 Introduction to Telehealth for Behavioral Healthcare