Your Mental Health Safety Plan

A mental health safety plan will help you cope in a mental health crisis. When you’re in crisis, it can be hard to think straight. You may have thoughts of harming yourself or others. You may be struggling and feel overwhelmed. At those times, a safety plan helps you take care of yourself. It is a step-by-step map that you help create. The plan supports you after you are discharged.

Creating your plan

Find a calm time to create your safety plan. Go over it with your healthcare provider or counselor. Ask for feedback. Share this plan with people you trust who can help you through a crisis. Keep your safety plan in a place where you can review it often.

It’s important to commit to using this safety plan. And it’s important to get the support you need. Write down answers to these questions so you are ready when you leave the hospital:

When will I need to use my plan?

What are ways to distract or comfort myself?

Where can I go to feel safe?

What are my reasons for living?

People I can talk to or call for support:

My healthcare providers or agencies to reach out to for help during a crisis:

How can I make my environment safe? This may include giving up alcohol and drugs, removing any weapons from the home, and locking up all medicines.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider as often as advised. Don’t change your treatment or medicines. Talk with your provider first. It’s important to work closely with your healthcare provider to manage your condition.

Call or text 988

Call or text 988 or go to the closest emergency room if you are in immediate risk of harming yourself or others. When you call or text 988, you will be connected to trained crisis counselors at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. An online chat is also available at The Lifeline is free and available 24/7.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these happen:

  • Your symptoms get worse

  • You feel extreme depression, fear, anxiety, or anger toward yourself or others

  • You feel out of control

  • You feel that you may try to harm yourself or others

  • You hear voices that others don’t hear

  • You see things that others don’t see

  • You haven't slept or eaten for 3 days in a row

  • Your friends or family express concern and ask you to get help

© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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