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Suicide Safety Planning 101

Suicide safety planning is a critical part of suicide prevention & mental health treatment. It is a proactive approach to suicide prevention that helps individuals identify triggers & coping strategies they can use to prevent a suicide attempt. It is also an important tool for clinicians to use when working with patients at risk of suicide. 

What is a suicide safety plan?

A suicide safety plan is a plan that outlines the steps the patient will take if they are feeling suicidal or in crisis. The plan typically includes the patient’s list of warning signs, coping strategies, & contact information of people they can reach out to.

Warning signs.

One of the key components of a safety plan is the list of warning signs. This is a list of signals or behaviours that could indicate the patient is at risk of suicide. Warning signs can be physical, emotional, or behavioural & can include changes in sleep or appetite, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, withdrawing from activities & friends, talking about suicide, or sudden changes in mood. It is important to note that not all warning signs will be the same for every person, so it is important for clinicians to discuss individual warning signs with their patients.

Coping strategies.

Another key component of a safety plan is the list of coping strategies. These are healthy activities & behaviours the patient can use to manage difficult feelings & thoughts. Examples of coping strategies include mindfulness & relaxation exercises, engaging in physical activities, connecting with friends & family, & reaching out for professional help. These strategies can be tailored to the individual patient’s needs & interests. 

Identifying supports.

The third component of a safety plan is a list of people the patient can reach out to if they are feeling suicidal or in crisis. This list should include family members, friends, & other social supports as well as local mental health resources & crisis hotline numbers. It is especially important to ensure that the patient includes at least one contact that can be easily accessed in an emergency, such as an emergency room or a 24-hour crisis hotline.

Suicide safety planning is important for both patients & clinicians.

Developing a suicide safety plan is important for both clinicians & patients. For clinicians, it helps them to better assess & monitor the risk of suicide. It also provides a framework for clinicians & patients to have meaningful & productive conversations about suicide prevention. For patients, it provides them with the tools & resources to seek help when they are feeling suicidal or in crisis. However, creating a suicide safety plan can be difficult & time-consuming, especially when clinicians are pressed for time. This is where Wellifiy can help.

How to make suicide safety planning accessible.

Using Wellifiy’s suicide safety planning module clinicians & patients can quickly & easily create & share individualized suicide safety plans. The tool is designed to be concise & user-friendly, allowing clinicians & patients to create individualized safety plans tailored to their specific needs quickly. With a Wellifiy-powered suicide safety plan patients can also access resources such as 24/7 crisis support hotlines making it easier for patients to find help when needed.

Putting it all together.

Overall, suicide safety planning is an important part of suicide prevention & mental health treatment. By developing a safety plan, both patients & clinicians can work together to reduce the risk of suicide & promote positive mental health outcomes. Wellifiy’s suicide safety planning feature can be an invaluable resource for clinicians & patients alike as they work together to create a safe & supportive environment for managing mental health & preventing suicide.