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June 7, 2012 Volume 3, Issue 21
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Call for Papers

RTP is calling for personal and practitioner articles that illustrate the principles and potential of recovery. Whether they describe how self-directed care has changed the nature of your practitioner–client relationship, your journey of healing and recovery, a recovery-oriented tool or strategy, or how peer involvement has influenced your workplace, your stories deeply touch our readers and continue to advance the mission and values of Recovery to Practice.

To submit an article or recovery resource, please contact us at 877.584.8535, or email

Hope Kits and CAMS
by Janet York, Ph.D., APRN, B.C., FAAN*
The Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) is a therapeutic framework that provides a structured approach to assess, treat, and track suicidal risk for optimal clinical outcomes (Jobes, 2006). The system encourages mental health providers to collaborate with patients and develop a shared understanding of suicidal risk that informs specific interventions and ensures safety and stability.

CAMS is consistent with the National Consensus Statement on Mental Health Recovery (2004) and eight of SAMHSA's fundamental components of recovery: self-direction, individualized and person-centered, empowerment, non-linear, strengths-based, respect, responsibility, and hope.

At the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina, nurse leaders were involved in a clinical pilot called "Collaborative Nursing Clinic for Hope." The intervention combined CAMS with Susan Gingerich and Kim Mueser's Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) program to target suicide, recovery, homelessness, and frequent inpatient readmission. Programs were delivered in separate weekly inpatient groups.

The majority of our homeless veterans experience addiction and personality difficulties, which is why the veteran-specific IMR group focuses on substance abuse and behavior problems. Suicidality can be an expression of the desperation of survival on the streets, the panic of running out of money for the month, or the troubled socialization of peers. We believe feigning suicidality in the Emergency Department can be an indicator of this desperation and hopelessness. Hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicide, and building hope is an important part of CAMS treatment.

We learned many lessons from our veterans during the pilot. One that was particularly poignant emerged as the group leader prepared content for a CAMS group on hope. She faced several dilemmas designing the Hope Kits, as the materials had to comply with the unit's environmental safety policies. Although the leader was quite taken with red, white, and blue wooden boxes from the Dollar Store, she considered the potential for mishandling (boxes could be used as weapons for self-inflicted pain or to harm others) as well as portability, thus selecting small envelopes with multicolored paper squares for the kits.

Next, she addressed a critical issue for homeless veterans: restricted access to their most cherished items. She developed instructions for the hope session that entailed writing an item's name on one side and recording its whereabouts—"in storage," "at my sister's house," "lost but not forgotten"—on the other. For future sessions, we suggested taking a picture of the item with a cell phone. In the end, lessons learned related to safety, practicality, and empathy for the pain of losing treasured possessions. The collaborative process of CAMS not only enhances the recovery of our veterans, but also facilitates ongoing learning, cultural awareness, and creativity for providers in suicide-specific care.

Janet York is a nursing researcher and Research Professor of Nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina. Contact her at

*The following authors also contributed to this article: Lisa Marie Sternke, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., VA Nursing Academy, and Colette Rhue, MSN, R.N., Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center.

David Jobes. (2006). Managing Suicidal Risk: A Collaborative Approach. New York, N.Y.: Guilford Press.

Making Depression Research More Accessible
How can volunteers find and participate in research studies? Where can the public learn about recent scientific discoveries?

We Search Together is a helpful resource for people living with mood disorders who are interested in field research. Created by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and the University of Michigan, the site answers questions about specific conditions, study participation, and depression and bipolar analysis. The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health to address common misconceptions about mental health and give participants a role in scientific research development.

Cultivating Better Mental Health
farm Growing Grounds Farm in Santa Maria, California, has taken horticulture to an entirely new level. Established in 2000, the organization has merged career training with farming therapy to provide employment opportunities for people with mental illness.

The work is labor intensive, but rewarding. Employees are involved in all aspects of production, from planting, to harvesting, to sales. They develop valuable job skills and benefit from working in a naturally therapeutic and supportive environment. Teamwork is a major component of training, so everyone on the farm learns to work together.

Read more.

Recovery Updates From ONDCP
Panel on Recovery Support Services
Peter Gaumond, Recovery Branch Chief of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was one of 16 experts invited to serve on the faculty for a consensus conference on recovery support services (RSS). Co-sponsored by the Betty Ford Institute and University of California, Los Angeles, the conference addressed four main questions:
  1. What is new in RSS?
  2. What do we know about RSS from science, practice, and experience?
  3. What do we need to know about RSS?
  4. What steps should be taken to develop and promote RSS?
A journal article summarizing the panel's findings and recommendations is in development, along with fact sheets, conference proceedings, and other materials.

Interagency Workgroup on Recovery
The Office of Demand Reduction (ODR) is developing a recovery subgroup of the ONDCP–sponsored Federal Interagency Workgroup on Demand Reduction. The subgroup will collaborate with agencies that are creating policies, programs, and initiatives to support recovery. ODR's workgroup aims to provide opportunities to identify and pursue measurable goals across multiple sectors.

RTP Wants to Hear From
Recovery-Oriented Practitioners!
We invite practitioners to submit personal stories that describe how they became involved in recovery-
oriented work and how it has changed the way they practice.
RTP Wants to Hear From You, Too!
We invite you to submit personal stories that describe recovery experiences. To submit stories or other recovery resources, please contact us at 877.584.8535,
or email

We welcome your views, comments, suggestions, and inquiries.
For more information on this topic or any other recovery topic,
please contact RTP at
877.584.8535, or email

The views, opinions, and content of this Weekly Highlight are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect
the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.