A crisis safety plan, drawn up with a mental health worker or crisis support worker will help you identify what keeps you safe when you are strugglying with suicidal thoughts or during a crisis. Becoming familiar with your warning signs and having a safety plan for life will help you put your plan into action. Even if the immediate crisis passes with your self-care strategies, do go and see a doctor or mental health team. This will help you get appropriate treatment and support in place for suicidal thoughts and feelings so that you don’t have to continually operate in a crisis mode.
Your crisis safety plan for life is a checklist of activities and actions you promise to do, so you can stay safe when you have thoughts of suicide, when completing your plan use the following hints and tips;
- Keep a list of contact names and numbers readily available. Include your doctors, counsellors, crisis cafes and helplines that can help you cope with suicidal thoughts. Include family and friends who agree to be available as part of your safety plan.
- Stay with your plan. Commit to taking your medication as prescribed and attending all support sessions and appointments. Agree with yourself and someone else that you won’t act on your suicidal thoughts while more help is being set up.
- Remove potential means of killing yourself. This may include removing sharp blades, razors or other objects you may consider using to hurt or kill yourself. If possible, give your medications to someone who can safeguard them for you and help you take them as prescribed.
- Try specific healthy and enjoyable activities when negative thoughts start to intrude, include activities that brought you small pleasure in the past, such as listening to music, watching a funny movie or visiting a museum. Or try something different. Physical activity and exercise may reduce depression symptoms, so try walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or dance to a song you like.
- Get together with others. Reach out to friends, family and people who care about you and are there when you need them. Try to be social, even if you don’t feel like it, to prevent isolation and make a list who is in your support bubble.
- Joining a support group can help you cope with suicidal thinking and recognise that there are many options in your life other than suicide. Mental health charities such as Mind often run anxiety groups.
- Avoid drug and alcohol use. Rather than numb painful feelings, alcohol and drugs can increase suicidal thoughts and the likelihood of harming yourself by making you more impulsive and more likely to act on your self-destructive feelings.
- Avoid risky websites on the Internet. Stay away from websites that may encourage suicide to solve your problems. Limit your time on social media and avoid groups that have negative connotations.
- Write about your thoughts and feelings. Consider writing about the things in your life that you value and appreciate, no matter how small they may seem at the time. Review why your life is valuable and the reasons to live