Safety plans – what they are, who can make one and why creating a safety plan for someone who is suicidal is important.
A safety plan is for people to use when they are feeling unsafe or suicidal – a plan to refer to and remind themselves of reasons to live, family and friends they can talk to, ideas of activities to do when they’re alone to aid when they are vulnerable. This should be a collaborative process between the person, and a mental health first aider or mental health professional.
Before making a plan find out:
- Check if the person already has a safety plan, or has had one in the past.
- Find out who has helped them in the past.
- Find out what support they want from you.
The plan should:
- Be something to refer to, and remind the person what they have to live for.
- Focus on things to do when they are feeling suicidal.
- Be clear, outlining exactly what will be done, who will be doing it, and at what stage these actions should be put into place
- Be for a length of time that will be easier for the suicidal person to cope with, so that they can feel able to fulfill the agreement and so it can be reviewed and revised.
- Include contact details that the person agrees they will call if they are feeling suicidal. eg. GP, a mental health professional, a suicide helpline or 24/7 crisis line, and family and friends who will help in a crisis.
Safety plans can be really detailed, or they can be simple, this will depend on the person requiring a safety plan.
There are great apps that can be downloaded onto your smart-phone. This way people can always have their safety plan handy.
We recommend Beyond Blue’s Beyond Now app or the
Attend a Mental Health for the Suicidal Person course to learn more about safety planning and how to support someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts.
If you or someone you know are experiencing a suicidal crisis, please contact
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Suicide call back service – 1300 659 467
NSW Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511