“Safety Planning & Resources” By Alexandra Eisner
Once the person you’re having the suicidal conversation with has expressed their story, de-escalated and can stay safe for today, it’s time to create a safety plan. A safety plan is a personalized action plan that includes ways for that person to remain safe, which they can refer to at any time. An effective safety plan has information, techniques and tools unique to their situation.
In building a safety plan, the person who’s safety plan it is needs to identify their warning signs. This means any triggering thoughts, images, situations or behaviors that indicate a suicidal crisis might be developing. In these situations, a suicidal crisis refers to someone becoming so emotionally distraught to the point of considering to take ones own life.
A second tool in the safety plan is identifying internal coping strategies. These are usually things the person can do on their own without contacting another person. To create an effective safety plan, the person should come up with at least three coping strategies; examples include things like relaxation techniques, physical activity or spending time on hobbies.
Next is identifying external coping strategies. This typically involves recognizing various people in their life who are sources of support, such as friends, family or professionals. External coping strategies include social settings that provides distraction, such as the beach or park. Again, identifying at least three people and places is key.
External coping strategies should also include crisis support resources. Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24/7 for assistance with suicidal, homicidal, emotional and mental distress. They can dispatch emergency services, the Psychiatric Mobile Response Team or provide further resources. The non-profit called Boys Club also has a 24/7 texting services which one can utilize simply by texting VOICE to 20121.
Lastly, in the safety plan we want to identify the persons buffers. Typically buffers can be identified when thinking about what made the person ambivalent to killing themselves. What are their personal reasons for living? No matter how seemingly big or small, buffers are what has helped them stay alive this far and we want to encourage them to keep going.
There are quite a few tools to assist in building, maintaining and referring to a safety plan. A person could build their own digitally by utilizing the MY3 app or print a safety plan out by going to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Brown_StanleySafetyPlanTemplate.pdf. For more ideas on coping skill ideas, please visit https://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/JournalPages/99-Coping-Skills-Poster.pdf.
To learn more about Alexandra, LiveLong Movement, suicide prevention hotlines and resources, go to: www.LiveLongMovement.org
Or visit the Facebook & Instagram @LiveLong_Movement
For crisis support, please call Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
To hear Alex’s interview on The LIFE CHANGES Show go to: http://lifechangesnetwork.com/suicide-prevention-talking-to-save-lives-with-guest-alexandra-eisner-and-musical-guests-the-waters-on-show-582/