Beyond Now - suicide safety planning information for family and friends

Support from loved ones can make a real difference when planning to keep someone safe from suicide. You can provide encouragement, distractions from suicidal thoughts, or simply listen when things become too much.

There are several ways you can help your friend or family member with their Beyond Now safety plan.

Support to create a suicide safety plan

Often a health professional will work with the person to develop a suicide safety plan.

You can also help by offering ideas and suggestions for each of the 7 steps. For example, you might:

  • suggest what you’ve noticed are their warning signs
  • help them write down reasons to live
  • offer ideas for things that could make them feel strong, or people and places they can connect with.

It’s important not to push if they’re finding creating the plan too confronting or stressful. Take a break and create the plan one step at a time.

For more information about how to create a suicide safety plan visit: Beyond Now – suicide safety planning.

Being listed as a person to talk to in your friend or family member’s safety plan

If your friend or family member has sent you a copy of their plan or asked you to be a supporter, make sure you understand what’s expected of you.

Talk about what support you’ll provide

Start by sitting down together and talking through the type of support you might be able to provide.

Try and be clear about what you can offer, as well as understanding what they need from you. 

Plan what you’ll do if they call

Your role might be to simply 'be there' for them. Focus on the social, enjoyable activities they’ve included in their plan without trying to force them to talk about what's going on. You might watch a movie, play sport, go for a walk, or just hang out.

Talking about suicidal feelings

If they decide to share their thoughts or feelings about suicide with you, that's okay too. Your role might be to listen, acknowledge their distress and just support them the way you know best. 

You can also help by encouraging your friend or family member to use their safety plan if they start experiencing their warning signs or you notice changes in their behaviour.

There might be some things you're not comfortable talking about. If so, make sure you tell them that so they’re aware and can include other supporters in their plan. 

Crisis support

Your friend or family member should have some professional support services listed in their plan. It's also helpful if you're aware of who can help during a crisis and at what point they should be called in.

If the person is seriously injured or at risk of harming themselves right now, call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.

For free, confidential 24/7 counselling call or chat online to:

Debrief to find out what works

If you're called on as a supporter, it might be helpful to ask your friend or family member – after things have settled down – about what worked and what you could do differently. This will help you if they need your support again in the future.

Look after your own wellbeing

Talking with someone about suicidal thoughts can be tough, especially if you're already stressed yourself. It's important to take care of your own mental health and wellbeing, make time for the things you enjoy, and have your own support network to call on when you need it.

Find out more: Look after your wellbeing while supporting someone else.

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Create your personal safety plan today.

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