Updated: May 4
Creating a written plan including tips to on how to stay calm and reasons to live is an extremely beneficial contingency plan should you begin to experience thoughts of self-harm. contingency plan should you begin to experience
Safety plans are classed as effective strategies to help a person when they feel extremely distressed and are contemplating suicide.
Safety plans can give you some perspective when you are feeling low as when a person experiences suicidal thoughts their ability to think clearly is hampered.
Tips for creating a safety plan:
Try to create a safety plan with someone you trust. That can be a friend, a therapist, a family member or a work colleague.
Try to create your plan when you are in a good positive mood and are thinking clearly rather than waiting for a time when suicidal thoughts enter your mind.
Keep your safety plan in a safe place where you can reach for it easily when you may need it.
Identify the signs that may lead you into a dark and low space. Write down these signals as it will help you act quickly once you can feel them coming on.
Create a list of all positive and wonderful things in your life. When you feel suicidal it easy to lose sight of all the amazing things in your life and the people around you that love you. What you write on this list is completely up to you and they can be big and small, such as your favourite food or pets and the people in your life that you love or what you hope to do in the future. These positive thoughts can help you manage your negative feelings.
Make your environment a safe place to be. That may be by removing all medication in the house, removing any ‘triggers’ that you have identified or removing alcohol or other mind altering substances.
List all the people that you can contact if and when you need support. You should feel that any person you include here you would feel happy to call or contact those when you are feeling suicidal. Tell them that you have placed them on the list.
Write a list of places you need to avoid or things you need to remove yourself from in order to keep you safe when feeling suicidal. An example of what could be on this list is: - Give my medication to someone else to look after and stay with someone close to me who can support me - Do not drink, and avoid spending time with people who are drinking - Remove anything from my home that I could use to self harm
How to use your safety plan efficiently:
Most people will keep their safety plan in a safe place at home. There are now safety plan apps that are available on your smart phone that can be brought everywhere with you.
There are many apps available but it is advised to discuss this with a mental health professional who may be able to recommend one that is appropriate for you.
If you identify any of your triggers or warning signs, reach for your safety plan and carry out some or all of the steps on your plan until you feel safe again.
If you are feeling suicidal, it is important to get yourself to a safe space where you do not have access to things that could use to harm yourself.
Get rid of anything you could use to hurt yourself.
If there is anything in your home that you could use to harm or hurt yourself please dispose of it immediately or give it to someone you trust.
If you have a plan of how you might cause harm to yourself, share that plan with someone.
Other services you where you can reach someone to talk to are:
Samaritans offers a 24 hour listening service over text message, text 'Hello' to 087 260 9090 to get started (standard text messaging rates apply) or call 116 123 to talk to someone over the phone.
Childline text and instant messaging services are available from 10am - 4am every day to young people under 18, text 'Talk' to 50101 to talk to a trained counsellor by text message or call 1800 66 66 66.
Teenline is a non-directive, non-judgemental and confidential helpline for teenagers age 13-19. They offer a freephone listening service. You can contact them by: Calling 1800 83 36 34 (8-11pm Monday to Friday)
Visit Your GP:
We always recommend that you visit your GP if you have suicidal feelings. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Your doctor is a professional health care provider and will be familiar with how you are feeling. Your mental health is just that - your health. You would visit your GP if you had been feeling physically unwell right ? Your emotional health is just as important as your physical well-being - in fact the two go hand in hand. If you don’t have a current GP you can find a list of services in your area here. You can also contact the CareDoc service on 1850 334 999
Contact the Emergency Services:
If you are an immediate danger to yourself and are going through a suicidal crisis please contact the emergency services by dialling 999 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.