Making a safety plan

How to make a suicide safety plan

Work together with someone you trust - such as a close friend, family member, your doctor or counsellor to develop your suicide safety plan. It is a good idea to get these people involved, since you may need to call on them and it is important that they know the best way to care for you.

It is best to create the plan at a time when you are feeling well and thinking clearly, rather than waiting until you are feeling overwhelmed and suicidal. Put your suicide safety plan in writing and keep it in a place where you can easily find it. Information to include in your safety plan:

 

  1. When the plan should be used. Familiarise yourself with what types of situations, thoughts and feelings might lead to suicidal urges for you. List the warning signs so that you can refer to them when you are deciding on whether to activate your plan.
  2. What you can do to calm/comfort yourself when you are feeling suicidal. List the activities that you know soothe and comfort you when you are upset.
  3. Create a list for yourself of all your reasons for living. When you are feeling suicidal, it is easy to get caught up in the pain you are feeling and forget the positives in your life. Your list may help you to refocus your attention until the suicidal feelings pass.
  4. Who you can talk to. List names and contact details and include back ups in case your first choice is unavailable.
  5. Who you can talk to if you need professional assistance. Create a list of professional resources available to you, along with their contact details and availability.
  6. How you can you make your environment safe. This may involve removing or securing any items that you are likely to use to hurt yourself and not doing things that you know make your feelings stronger or longer lasting.
  7. What you can do if you are still not feeling safe. Keep the name and address of your nearest hospital emergency department or telephone crisis line. 
  8. Make a safety plan commitment. The last step is to make a commitment to your safety plan. This means committing to yourself that you will follow this plan when the need arises, and then committing aloud to someone else (e.g. your counsellor, a trusted friend) that you will follow this plan. This is also called "a safety contract."
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