If your life is in danger, call the police at 110

Based on research conducted by psychologists Barbara Stanley and Gregory Brown,  creating a safety plan can be an effective way to address suicidal ideation. If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, a Safety Plan is a tool that can remind you of sources of support and strategies that help. It can help you identify the feelings that lead you to thoughts of suicide, remind you of your reasons to live, and ways to get through these tough times.

When should I use this plan?

A safety plan can help with a variety of situations, supporting both your physical safety and emotional well-being. Such as:

  • If you are having thoughts of suicide.
  • If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself.
  • If you are worried about someone hurting you.
  • If you are experiencing emotional pain.

At times like these, your problem-solving abilities are often impaired, making it feel difficult to know what to do. Hurting yourself or ending your life might feel like the only answer to the extreme pain you are experiencing.

It is important to remember that these feelings will pass.
Using a Safety Plan can help you navigate these strong emotions and feel more in control, especially when everything feels out of control. It can remind you of your coping strategies, reasons for living as well as people, and services you can connect with to help you navigate the storm.  

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. Work with those you trust to help you develop the plan. Put your Safety Plan in writing. Keep it in a place where you can easily find it and share it with others you trust. 

Below are seven steps you can include in your Safety Plan.

What should I include in my safety plan?

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, the quickest way to get help is to call an ambulance at 119.

  • What causes you to feel emotional pain? 
  • Are you triggered by past abuse or trauma?
  • How can you tell when those feelings are starting to become a problem?
  • Do you stop talking or going out with others? 
  • Do you have trouble sleeping or eating?
  • Do you feel like you are a burden to others?
  • Where can you go to avoid being alone? 
  • How can you make your environment safer? 
  • Perhaps remove things from your immediate surroundings that you may use to harm yourself.
  • What social settings can provide you with an outlet or means of temporary escape?
  • What motivates you to keep going? 
  • Who or what do you care about most?
  • How can you work through your problems? 
  • What has worked in the past? 
  • What can you do to take your mind off the things that are concerning you?
  • What activities can help you feel grounded? For example, you could listen to music, go for a walk, take a warm bath or shower, meditate, or play a game.
  • Where is your safe space?
  • What do you need to avoid or remove to keep it a safe space for you?
  • What friends, family, or others do you trust to ask for help?
  • Who would you contact during a real crisis or an emergency?
  • What are their phone numbers, emails, SNS contacts, or other key information?
  • Each time you use your Safety Plan, review it.
  • Was something or someone as helpful as you hoped?
  • Could you think of an alternative?
  • Have circumstances or your needs changed?
  • Download the Safety Plan and make a start on it.
  • Reach out to TELL Lifeline if you are unsure about any of the steps
  • Let others know about your plan and what role or support you would like from them.
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