I interrupt the regular weekly uploads to bring you something that isn’t commonly mentioned but could save many lives. Judging by the title, I’m talking about a suicide safety plan. You may be wondering “what is a suicide safety plan and where can I get one?”. Look no further, that’s what this article is going to share (along with links to some helpful reading).
What is a suicide safety plan?
A suicide safety plan is designed to keep you safe when you are low or feeling suicidal. Your safety plan will remind you of reasons to live and connect you with the people and services who can help during the tough times, giving you some perspective when you’re feeling low.
How do I design one?
Developing a suicide safety plan is a relatively simple process, however, needs to involve someone(s) 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 crucial that they know the best way to care for you.
What do I include in my plan?
• Decide at the beginning when the plan should be used – think about what types of situations as well as any thoughts and feelings that may trigger suicidal urges for you.
• List the warning signs so that you can refer to them when you are deciding whether or not to activate your plan.
• List things that you can do to calm/comfort yourself when you are feeling suicidal (i.e. sleeping, exercising, or calling someone you trust).
• List all of the reasons for living (i.e. friends, family, pets, music/bands, places you like to visit such as the beach) this is IMPORTANT because it’s so 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.
• List all of the people you can talk to and their contact details, also include any back-ups in case your first options are unavailable.
• List all the professional resources available to you, along with their contact details and availability (i.e. therapist, local hospital, and crisis line).
• Think of ways to 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.
• What can you do if you are still not feeling safe? Keep the name and address of your nearest hospital emergency department or telephone crisis line.
• Make a safety plan commitment. 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, or family member) that you will follow this plan. This is also called “a safety contract.”
When to create a plan?
It is best to create the plan at a time when you are feeling well and thinking clearly, rather than waiting until you are overwhelmed and feeling suicidal. Put your suicide safety plan in writing and keep it in a place where you can easily find it.
The ReMinder App
There is also a handy little app called “ReMinder app” which includes a suicide safety plan that you can download onto your Android or Apple phone to create a simple program that can be accessed at any time. ReMinder is a self-managed resource for users to adopt as part of their coping strategy. Please note that the information on the ReMinder app is not accessible or viewable by our counsellors, nor can they offer any technical advice.
Some of the features of the app include:
• Access helplines and emergency service numbers.
• Creates your team of personal contacts.
• Stores 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.
Finally, if you or someone you know is worried and wants more information on how to help someone or make a difference see the “Suicide Call Back Service“. Note that this is only available in Australia.
If you’re in America you can find support here.
If you’re in Europe you can find support here.
P.S. If you want to join the conversation see our Facebook page:
P.S.S If you need a support group check out our Facebook group:
P.S.S.S. If you need someone to talk to or immediate help (in Victoria, Australia) see: http://www.mentalhealthcompass.com.au/helplines