DrDan’s Toolkit – Safety Plans: IS PATH WARM

I’ve been writing about the Safety Plan as a brief suicide intervention, Tear up that no-harm/no-suicide contract, and we are looking at the first step, Safety Plans: What am I looking for?

In 2005, The American Association of Suicidology published an acronym of major warning signs to look for:

I – Ideation

S – Substance Abuse


P – Purposelessness

A – Anxiety

T – Trapped

H – Hopelessness


W – Withdrawal

A – Anger

R – Recklessness

M – Mood Changes

In the early 1990’s I realized that the reason so many people say after a suicide that they had no idea their friend, relative, coworker, etc. was considering suicide was because they didn’t know the warning signs.  How can you know what to look for if you’ve never learned the warning signs?  So I began teaching courses on suicide awareness, detailing what to look for and what to do when you see these warning signs.

You may have heard a recording at your airport saying, “If you see something, say something.”  The same statement applies in suicide awareness.  If you see the signs listed above, do something – talk to the person, listen to them, help them get to a higher level of care – whatever that means in your situation.

Within the context of Safety Plans, we want people who are thinking about suicide to recognize these signs in themselves, and move on to the next step in the Safety Plan – Internal Coping Strategies.

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.

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