Make a Safety Plan

Learn how to make a safety plan for when you are feeling in crisis.
*If you are in an emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest hospital immediately. 

What is a safety plan?
A safety plan is a list that you make that lists your important contacts, coping strategies and what you can do when you're having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a crisis.  

Why is a safety plan important?
When you're in crisis, you may feel lost and have difficulty gathering your thoughts. By having a safety plan that you've prepared ahead of time, you can have that information at your fingertips. 

How do I make a safety plan?

  • Choose a quiet place and set aside some time to write out your plan. 
  • You can do it by yourself, with the help of your healthcare professional (e.g., a therapist), or with a friend or family member. 
  • Write out your safety plan on a piece of paper, a card you can carry with you, or on your phone — somewhere you can refer back to easily. 

Parts of a Safety Plan

  • Warning signs & triggers: You might notice that certain events, behaviours, or thoughts can lead to a mental health crisis. For example, you might experience life stress like changes in relationships, have mood swings, forget to take your medication, self-harm, or notice that your thought patterns are confused. By recognizing these signs and triggers, you can be aware when a crisis may be beginning. 
  • Internal coping strategies: What are some things you can do or thoughts that you have by yourself to help you cope? Internal coping strategies can include relaxation techniques like the progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) or calm breathing exercises in WalkAlong. They could also be physical activities, like going for a run, or other activities, like journalling your thoughts, listening to music, or being creative. Some people have key words specific thoughts that help them to cope, for example, thinking, "This will pass". Recording all the things that help you cope by reminding you of what you can do when you're feeling in crisis. 
  • People and places to distract me: Where do you feel safest in a crisis? Who can you be with? Use this section to write down the places that you feel safe, which can be private places like your house or room, or more public places like a coffee shop. Also write down the people that you know will be there to support you along with their number so you can contact them quickly. You might want to include the number for the local crisis line here as well.  
  • My Professionals: If you have a therapist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional, you can write down their name and contact information here so that you can get in touch with them during a crisis. 
  • Making the environment safe: Write down your strategies for keeping your environment safe. For example, you may want to put away anything you might use to hurt yourself, like medication or weapons away from reach. 
  • One thing worth living for: What keeps you going and wanting to live? Write this down and remember why it is important to you. 

Material adapted from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center's Safety Planning Guide 

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