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Safety plan -know the warning signs

A safety plan can help you recognize warning signs and keep you safe when you are feeling down or suicidal. Your safety plan will remind you of the reasons to live and connect you with people and services that can assist you during difficult times, providing you with some perspective when you’re feeling down.

A safety plan differs from one person to the next; it can take many forms and be presented in a variety of formats. However, they all contain the same information. Please download Minplan from the App Store or Google Play to get your safety plan HERE.

Then, when you are calm, work on developing your safety plan with someone you trust, such as a close friend, family member, doctor, or counselor. It is a good idea to involve these people because you may need to call on them and they must know how to best care for you. It is preferable to make the plan when you are feeling well and thinking more clearly, rather than when you are overwhelmed and suicidal.

Your plan should begin with a list of warning signs and triggers, i.e., what thoughts or feelings you are aware of when you are suicidal. We´ve gathered some examples for you below.

Warning signs

  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Apathy
  • Withdrawal
  • An unusual preoccupation with dying or death
  • Giving away personal possessions
  • Symptoms of depression, fundamental unhappiness
  • Mood fluctuation, elevated emotional lability
  • Distinct hopelessness
  • Distinct feelings of guilt and self-reproach
  • Expression of altruistic ideas of suicide or self-sacrifice
  • Severe sleep disturbances
  • Recent experience of loss
  • Acute or chronic traumatization

Coping strategies tailored to your specific needs should come next. Meditation, breathing exercises, going for a walk, watching TV, or listening to music can all be extremely grounding.

You should also include a list of reasons for living. “Those who are suicidal often forget about the positives in their lives”, Jette Louise Larsen says. However, having reasons written down can refocus their attention.

And good safety plans include contact information for friends, therapists, psychiatrists, and crisis hotlines. My own plan includes a long list of people I can text, message, or call to make me feel better and safer. These are reminders that your network exists and that there are people who want and need you to be alive.

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