Archive for February, 2023

Comprehensive Study Seeks to Protect College Students from Suicide

Texas suicide lawyer

Taking a closer look at approaches to help students who struggle with suicidality

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students nationwide, ranking only behind accidental deaths (including both motor vehicle and non-motor vehicle accidents).

And the current generation of college students may be at an even greater risk than their predecessors, thanks to the lingering mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we wrote last year, there has been a highly concerning uptick in suicidality on college campuses across the United States.

College students do have access to campus mental health services to help reduce suicide risk, but every student responds to treatment differently. An innovative new study is investigating adaptive, targeted strategies to better treat college students and prevent suicide.

Breaking down the CAMPUS trial

The Comprehensive Adaptive Multisite Prevention of University Student Suicide (CAMPUS) trial is a large-scale, multi-site controlled trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Four universities are participating in the trial: Duke University in North Carolina, Rutgers University in New Jersey, University of Nevada-Reno, and the University of Oregon.

According to Dr. Scott Compton, the lead investigator for the Duke University arm of the trial, ‚ÄúProviders at college counseling centers have little empirical evidence to guide them about what treatments work best to address college student suicidal risk, and perhaps of equal importance, what treatment to provide next for those students who show little benefit from an initial course of care.” Dr. Compton explains that the goal of the trial is to shed light on these issues and provide better clinical guidelines to manage student suicide risk.

The trial divides treatment into two stages. Stage 1 will randomize students into either a suicide-focused treatment (Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality, or CAMS) or treatment as usual and assess to see whether the student responds well. Those who don’t respond well to Stage 1 will be re-randomized into either CAMS or Counseling Center Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The goal is to understand which combination of treatments provides the best reduction in suicide risk at the end of treatment and at a three-month follow-up, especially among the critical group of students who do not respond well to initial treatment.

The study is an important step to identify suicide prevention strategies for college students

Central to the purpose of the CAMPUS study is the underlying truth that suicide is preventable. With the right mental health interventions and ongoing support, college students can be protected from the risk of dying by suicide. Identifying what those strategies are is an ongoing process, as suicidality is highly personal and individual.

Just as important, however, is the need for mental health professionals to actually follow standards of care and provide quality treatment to those who are at risk of suicide. Mental health treatment settings need to stay abreast of suicide prevention techniques and implement those techniques to better serve their patients. When they fall short of that responsibility, they must be held accountable.

Our law firm fights for families who have lost loved ones

As studies like the CAMPUS trial look for more effective ways to prevent suicide, it’s critical that medical professionals are held accountable when they fail to follow the currently accepted best practices in suicide prevention and mental health care. If you have lost a loved one to suicide completion, the Law Offices of Skip Simpson would be honored to listen to your story and explain your rights and options. We are based in Texas but serve families nationwide. Schedule your free consultation today.