If you've clicked on this article, it may be because you're going through an unspeakably tough time, or you're concerned about someone who is. First of all, I want to acknowledge your bravery. Taking steps to confront a crisis, even if it's just gathering information, is no small feat. This topic is something many shy away from but its significance can't be overstated especially during Suicide Awareness Month.
If you're facing immediate danger or a life-threatening situation, seek professional help or call emergency services right away. This guide is designed as a supplementary resource, not a replacement for emergency intervention or professional healthcare.
What is a suicide prevention plan?
A suicide safety plan is essentially a life-saving tool—both literally and figuratively. Think of it as a lifeline or a light in the darkness when you feel like you're drowning. By having a plan, you give yourself concrete steps to follow when your emotional pain becomes overwhelming.
Here's how you can put together a robust and helpful suicide safety plan.
1. Identifying warning signs
You know yourself better than anyone else. What are subtle or blatant signs that indicate you're heading into a mental or emotional crisis? It could be anything from increased irritability and emotional numbness, to more overt signals like self-isolation and harmful thoughts. Jot these down, and if possible, share them with someone you trust.
2. Crafting Internal Coping Strategies
Let's get a bit more specific than just "breathing exercises." What activities genuinely engage you and distract you from the pain, even if it's just for a short while? Is it sketching? Playing a musical instrument? Perhaps rewatching your favorite comedy? Develop an arsenal of these coping mechanisms and write them down in detail.
3. Building Your Social Support Ecosystem
Two types of people can offer you support: those who can distract you and those who can engage deeply with your emotional state. Start by listing friends, family members, or Colleagues who can help take your mind off things. Maybe a coffee date with Sarah or a quick gaming session with Mike? These activities aren't meant to solve the problem, but they can give you much-needed breathing room.
4. Emotional Lifelines: Trusted Family and Friends
In contrast to your social support ecosystem, these are the people who you can call at 3 a.m., and they won't hesitate to pick you up. It's crucial to have a list of individuals who not only understand the gravity of your situation but are also equipped to help you navigate it emotionally.
5. Professional Contacts and Healthcare Providers
If you've been through therapy or counseling, you probably have contacts you can reach out to in a crisis. If not, now is the time to find a healthcare provider who can guide you professionally. A trained therapist can provide insights and coping mechanisms that friends and family, no matter how well-meaning, may not be able to offer. Reach out to us at email@example.com or Tel: 786-490-5988.
6. Making Your Environment Safer
This is a tough one but it's essential. Take a moment to identify items or places in your home that could pose a risk in a crisis. Work on strategies to make these areas safer—perhaps by locking away certain items or by informing a trusted friend or family member about them.
7. Emergency Resources
No safety plan is complete without emergency numbers that can provide immediate, professional assistance. Whether it's a helpline or your local emergency number, these contacts are your go-to when things escalate to a point where you need immediate help. The national suicide and crisis lifeline is 988. Call 911 if it’s an emergency.
Creating a robust suicide safety plan is about taking control where you can. It's a methodical approach to a chaotic emotional state. It's also not something you should do alone. Involve healthcare professionals, confide in trusted friends, and always, always keep this plan accessible. We're talking about your life here, and you're worth the effort it takes to safeguard it. Take care.