Helping someone to make a suicide safety plan can sometimes be helpful for someone suicidal.
A suicide safety plan (sometimes called a safety contract) is a verbal agreement given by the person that they won’t harm themselves for a certain period of time.
It usually involves a commitment from the person not to harm themselves without first making contact with an agreed person to let them know how they are in crisis and thinking of acting on their suicide plan. The nominated person must also know of the safety plan and consent to their involvement as a point of contact when the person is in crisis or danger of harming themselves.
They must also have the confidence to be able to know what to do and how to act should the person contact them as part of their safety plan.
A safety plan identifies the practical steps the person can take when managing a suicidal crisis that they understand will help them regain a sense of control, and identify the support systems available to them.
Helping Someone: The plan must be achievable and realistic
It is important that the safety plan also includes contacts that are available at all times, such as:
- Trusted family members
- 24-hour suicide helplines
- Mental health professional.
These numbers need to be written down and easily accessible for the person in the event that their suicidal thoughts intensify and immediate assistance is needed.
The contract can specify what is to happen when it is clear that the person is at imminent risk i.e., presenting at emergency in hospital, or calling an ambulance.
For more information see our Making a safety plan page.
On the Line has launched ReMinder – a suicide safety plan that you can download onto your Android or Apple phone to create a simple plan that can be accessed at any time.
ReMinder is a self-managed resource for users to adopt as part of their own coping strategy and does not link to any existing client management plans. On the Line counsellors do not have access to view any information added to make up a users suicide safety plan.
- Access helplines and emergency service numbers
- Create your own team of personal contacts
- Store your favourite images
- Change the ReMinder theme for a calming influence
- Update your mood on a daily basis
- Complete a K10 questionnaire to determine what extent you have experienced depression or anxiety over the past month
- Follow the latest tweets from the Suicide Call Back Service for further information and advice on suicide safety.
In an emergency
If you are with someone who is in immediate danger, or concerned for their safety in any way:
- Call 000 and request an ambulance. Stay on the line, speak clearly, and be ready to answer the operator’s questions
- Visit your local hospital’s emergency department.
Further reading if you are worried about someone
- Why do people become suicidal?
- Suicide warning signs
- Supporting someone who may be suicidal
- Discussing suicide: How to talk to somebody about suicide
- Supporting someone to get help
- Looking after yourself
- Helping someone to create a safety plan
- Relationships and suicide
- Supporting someone after a suicide attempt
- When someone you know self-harms