If you start having ideas about hurting yourself, you have a backup strategy to protect yourself. You must follow a series of steadily increasing steps, moving from one to the next, until you reach safety. There is a very real chance that you will have suicidal thoughts at some point over the course of your depression, whether or not it has been identified by a healthcare professional. You will not lose control or act on your thoughts even though the emotional agony that causes these thoughts may feel overwhelming. In fact, one way to deal with your negative emotions until events change is to have a suicide safety plan in place.
Read more: Why Do People Die By Suicide?
Well, in this article we’ll be talking about How to Create a Suicide Safety Plan, where we’ll be taking a good look at the following content:
- Creating a Plan
- Emergency Help
- When a Friend Is Suicidal
- Using a Safety Plan
Creating a Plan
To create your suicide safety plan, consult with a trusted individual, such as your best friend, a member of your immediate family, a doctor, or a therapist. It is advisable to involve them since you will probably need to contact them if you decide to carry out your strategy. Instead of waiting until you are seriously considering suicide, try to make the plan when you are feeling good and can think clearly. Write down your suicide safety plan and store it in a location where you can quickly access it if necessary. Your suicide safety plan should be written in the order shown below and should contain numerous steps. Each step is illustrated with an example to help you understand what it implies.
Read more: Why Do People Die By Suicide?
Thinking about the kinds of circumstances, pictures, thoughts, feelings, and actions that might precede or go along with suicidal tendencies is the first step in developing a suicide safety plan. Make a note of these red flags so you may refer to them later while determining whether to implement your plan. In order to spot these warning signs if they appear, it is also beneficial to be aware of specific suicide risk factors.
How to Relax and Comfort Yourself
Make a list of the things you can do to calm down when you are agitated. If you are having trouble coming up with examples, you might want to try some mind-body techniques that have worked for others, such as body scan meditation or breathing exercises. Or you might look at several stress-reduction techniques to see if any of them might work for you.
Motivation to Live
Make a list of the reasons you want to live. It is quite simple to become so consumed with your suffering when you are suicidal that you lose sight of the good things in your life. Your list will assist you in refocusing your attention on the benefits of continuing on even though you are having suicidal thoughts and feelings. Some individuals, whether they are depressed or not, feel that maintaining a gratitude notebook is beneficial. If you experience suicidal thoughts, reading what you have written may encourage you to keep your attention on the good things in your life until the feelings pass.
Reliable Contact Details
Keep a list of people you can call if you find yourself unable to divert your attention with self-help techniques. List names, phone numbers, or other contact details and have backups ready in case your first or second choices are not available.
Resources for Professionals
Make a list of all the expert resources you have at your disposal, along with their phone numbers, emails, and other crucial contact details. A crisis hotline number, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, is also a good idea to keep here. Make an appointment right away if you have not already seen a mental health professional. Learn more about the various therapists who treat depression here.
How to Create a Safe Environment
Make a plan for the safety measures you can take. This may entail moving to a different location until the cravings pass or removing or securing any objects that you are likely to use to damage yourself. It might also entail enlisting the assistance of another person. Plan to travel to a public location, such as a mall, restaurant, or library, to divert yourself if you feel like hurting yourself. You could also ask someone to keep your gun at their home if you are feeling suicidal.
If the person has already started a suicide attempt, call for help immediately. If they are still conscious, get what information you can about any substances they have ingested, how long ago they took them, how much they took when they last ate, and their general state of health. If you are in a situation, such as an online friendship, where you know very little about the person, encourage them to call 911 on their own or a suicide hotline in their area.
This is your best option because a local agency, such as 911 or a hotline, may be able to trace the call and get assistance to them. If they refuse to call, do your best to learn whatever personal information you can about the person. Don’t hesitate to ask them for their address, phone number, and other information to help dispatch an emergency crew to their home.
Read more: Suicide Pact: Causes, Symptoms, and Types
When a Friend Is Suicidal
Many persons who suffer from depression have acquaintances who are dealing with comparable difficulties. This might be a long-time friend, a relative, or a new friend you made in a support group for people with depression. Depression is after all rather prevalent. Encourage those who are struggling with depression to make their own safety plans when they have finished their own. Other actions you might do to assist a friend who may be contemplating suicide include:
- The Suicide Prevention Lifeline advises: asking questions to ascertain whether your buddy requires assistance. It is crucial to inquire about their emotions and actions, including directly inquiring if they are considering or preparing to commit suicide. Take them seriously if they mention suicidal thoughts or plans.
- Detecting suicide thoughts: Being aware of some of the warning signals can help you decide when to get your friend’s help. Talking about wanting to die, expressing emotions of hopelessness, and feeling like a burden to others are examples of these indications. Additionally, sudden mood swings, risky behavior, and social disengagement all be signs that someone needs assistance.
- Supporting your friends: Let them know you are there for them. Keep an open mind, absorb what they have to say, and refrain from passing judgment. According to studies, accepting the situation may help prevent suicidal thoughts.
Using a Safety Plan
If you begin to experience any of the warning signs of suicide listed in your suicide safety plan, proceed through the steps you have previously outlined for yourself, one by one, until you feel safe again. An exception would be if you are feeling out of control and are strongly thinking of suicide. In that case, it is best to call either a trusted friend who can be with you immediately or 911.
While you will likely have your suicide safety plan in your home, there are now smartphone safety plan apps that you can take with you anywhere. These apps may be of particular benefit to younger people and those in regions where suicide support options are lacking. Currently, however, there is a lack of information on how helpful these apps are, and some apps have been found to have potentially dangerous content. It’s important to ask your mental healthcare provider whether they recommend one of these apps and, if so, which one they feel is best for you.
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