A Study to Evaluate the CAMS Relational Agent System (CAMS-RAS) for Suicide Prevention


About this study

The purpose of this study is a continuation of the Phase I feasibility study where the investigators fully met and exceeded project aims to design, build, and test the usability and acceptability of an avatar-based system, the Virtual-CAMS (V-CAMS, formerly called CAMS-RAS), for use by suicidal ED patients and medical personnel responsible for their care.

Phase II includes a formative phase, during which the investigators will continue conducting usability and acceptability tests of new features, and a summative phase to conduct a clinical trial. SBIR Phase II project aims include: (1) Complete development of V-CAMS, including readiness for electronic health record integration; (2) Cultivate and utilize the advisory board so that V-CAMS is positioned to meet the needs of diverse healthcare systems and successful conduct of the proposed research; (3) Conduct usability/acceptability tests of new features with target end-users (suicidal patients, including those in the ED, medical providers) and key stakeholders (i.e., administrators); and (4) Conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT; N=90) of suicidal ED patients comparing V-CAMS (n=45) to Care-As-Usual (CAU; n=45). Participants will be assessed at baseline while in the ED, and again at 7, 30, and 90 days. The investigators predict that V-CAMS participants will report a significantly greater decrease in suicidal behaviors and ED/hospital admissions, as well as significantly greater increases in use of behavioral coping skills, self-efficacy in coping with distress, and perceived helpfulness of patients' ED experience.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria: 

  • 18 years or older.
  • English speaker.
  • Clinically stable Suicidal Patient* currently admitted to the ED, psychiatric inpatient unit, and medical floors of the participating sites; Suicidal Patients currently receiving outpatient mental health services.
  • Hospital medical personnel who treat suicidal patients, hospital administrators, hospital-based peer advocates, and outpatient mental health clinicians and administrators.
  • "Suicidal Patient" is defined as those patients who:
    • Have explicitly indicated to their treatment provider that they are suicidal and/or are seeking treatment in part because they want to kill themselves; or
    • Have made a suicide attempt in the last six months; or
    • Engaged in non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors with high suicidal ideation (defined as 4 to 5 on a 0-5 point Likert scale) in the past three months.
  • "Clinically Stable"and not in clear and imminent danger is defined as:
    • Patients who are oriented to time, place, person and are no longer in acute phase of distress that led to their ED admission (for those in the ED);
    • For those in outpatient context, patient is not in imminent risk for suicide as deemed by their treatment provider;
    • In all cases, patient is able to follow instructions for mood improvement/distress tolerance protocol to help stabilize their mood; current status is unlikely to worsen as a result of engagement with research staff in study activities as deemed by their treatment provider.
  • The Site Contact or Coordinators and/or designated medical staff will determine if suicidal patients fit these criteria before referring them to the research team.

Exclusion Criteria: 

  • Acutely psychotic and thus unable to provide informed consent.
  • Severely agitated (as deemed by physician, nurse, or outpatient therapist).
  • Not fluent in English.

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Gabrielle Melin, M.D., M.S.

Open for enrollment

Contact information:

Michelle Skime M.S., CCRP



More information


Publications are currently not available

Study Results Summary

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Supplemental Study Information

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