We’ve reached the end of my series on the Safety Plan as a brief suicide intervention. The Safety Plan has a distinct advantage over the no-harm/no-suicide contract because the Safety Plan helps patients develop a plan for how to care for themselves while the no-harm/no-suicide contract is a “promise” not to try to end their life.

The Safety Plan is often a collaborative effort between the healthcare professional and the patient or client, developing the lists of options for each step.  One of the aspects of SPI that I really like is that the plan is developed when the patient is not in acute crisis and is available to use when they are in crisis.

The Safety Plan consists of 6 steps:

Recognition of warning signs

Internal coping strategies

Socialization strategies for distraction and support

Social contacts for assistance in resolving suicidal crises

Professional and agency contacts to help resolve suicidal crises

Means restriction

For a copy of the Safety Plan form or for the manual, go to suicidesafetyplan.com and request access.  The Safety Plan form is also included in the manual, along with ‘brief instructions’ which are very helpful.  The manual is for the VA, but can be used in any setting.

Remember that the Safety Plan can be completed either on paper, as referenced above, or there are at least 2 apps available for smartphones or tablets.  The 2 apps are named MY3 and Safety Plan.  Both are free and available from the Apple app store or Google Play.

If you are interested in my upcoming trainings or my new online training format, or want to review my CV, please visit my website at criticalconcepts.org.

Two massive hurricanes.

A large earthquake in Mexico.

The horrific mass shooting event in Las Vegas on Sunday.

If you feel overwhelmed with recent events in our world, you are not alone.

Many resources exist to help us deal with these critical incidents.  Allow me to share just a few.

The American Psychological Association has many resources on their site, www.apa.org.  They also just posted an article, “APA Resources for Coping with Mass Shootings, Understanding Gun Violence” which details several resources, including a guide for talking with children.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) offers a Disaster Distress Helpline providing 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.  More information is available at the Disaster Distress Helpline. Call 1-800-985-5990 or Text TalkWithUs to 66746.  For the deaf/hard of hearing, use your preferred relay service to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990.  Information is also available in Spanish.

The National Center for PTSD also offers information on “Coping with Traumatic Stress Reactions.” Active coping, defined as taking direct action to cope with your normal stress reactions, means accepting the impact of potential trauma on your life and taking direct action to improve things.  Recommended steps include talking to others for support, distracting yourself with positive activities, learning about trauma, and engaging in relaxing activities such as muscle relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, meditation, swimming, stretching, yoga, and/or spending time in nature.

If you are caring for others, please remember to take care of yourself as well.  For helpful tips, review the recommendations at the National Center for PTSD on Self-Care After Disasters.

If you are interested in my upcoming trainings or my new online suicide prevention training format, or want to review my CV, please visit my website at criticalconcepts.org.