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Forums / Suicidal thoughts and self-harm / Do you have a safety plan?

Topic: Do you have a safety plan?

21 posts, 0 answered
  1. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    1472 posts
    10 March 2016

    Safety planning involves creating a structured plan – ideally with support from your health professional or someone you trust – that you work through when you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, feelings, distress or crisis.

    Your safety plan starts with things you can do by yourself, such as thinking about your reasons to live and distracting yourself with enjoyable activities. It then moves on to coping strategies and people you can contact for support – your friends, family and health professionals.

    The safety planning model was developed in the US by suicide prevention experts Barbara Stanley and Gregory Brown. It has been used extensively by US veterans’ health organisations, hospital emergency departments and high schools, and there is strong evidence that it works. Many health professionals in Australia also use some form of safety planning to support clients experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, or after a suicide attempt.

    beyondblue has an app you can use to create a safety plan, called BeyondNow.

    The BeyondNow app takes the principles of safety planning and makes it even easier to use – so rather than carrying around a piece of paper, you’ve got it on your phone at all times. It’s free to download from the Apple Store or Google Play.

    If you don’t have a smartphone or would prefer to use your desktop or laptop, BeyondNow is also available to use on our website.

    Do you have a safety plan?  Do you have questions around how you might create one, or fill out some of the sections? 

    This thread is for discussing ideas around creating a safety plan, and sharing tips about what has been most useful about this process for you.

    Below are two videos featuring Peter and Nic, who have both used safety plans successfully.  




    3 people found this helpful
  2. Legion
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Legion avatar
    40 posts
    21 March 2016 in reply to Sophie_M

    I have no "safety plan" as such.

    I have only consented to one thing and that is to speak to my GP after my beloved Cat leaves this mortal coil.

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    1472 posts
    21 March 2016 in reply to Legion
    Hi Legion, thanks for posting. Would you consider making one using this new tool, and letting us know how you go with it?
    1 person found this helpful
  4. Legion
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Legion avatar
    40 posts
    22 March 2016 in reply to Sophie_M

    Hello Sophie_M,

    Perhaps once, a long time ago I may have considered using such a tool or perhaps some other mechanism but not now. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that your system will not work, I'm sure it's a very good thing for many folks, it's just not for me.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. yggy
    yggy avatar
    544 posts
    22 March 2016 in reply to Sophie_M

    Dear Sophie,

    I do have a safety plan and I had a look at your tool. I think it is great and I am grateful that you guys at beyondblue start looking at some apps. I don't use this app at the moment as I feel comfortable with my current safety plan, which is on my phone as well, but it is typed and in various locations and having it all in one place is great idea.

     Thank you and please keep the good work up, it is so important to know what to do when things look like they will never change.

    Take care, Yggy

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Saltbush boy
    Saltbush boy avatar
    29 posts
    23 March 2016
    Just would like to say great idea and would love to create a plan but not confident on computers and the app needs iOS 8 or better most of us are struggling that's why we use this site so I believe the majority of people would be as I am and iOS 7 is what we can afford now. Such a shame iphone 4 can't download this app:(
    1 person found this helpful
  7. Chris B
    Community Manager
    • Works for beyondblue managing these forums. Not a mental health professional, but here to help. Email:
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Chris B avatar
    1552 posts
    24 March 2016 in reply to Saltbush boy

    Hi Saltbush boy, sorry that you can't access the app version of Beyond Now on your iphone 4.

    There were significant cost and feature implications involved with making this app compatible for older phones, so we made the decision to go with iOS8 or later as this reaches over 90% of iphone users.  

    The web version of Beyond Now is optimised for mobile, so you should find the experience of creating a plan on our website very similar to what you would get with the app.

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Becs125
    Becs125 avatar
    13 posts
    23 August 2016 in reply to Sophie_M
    I had a safety plan written up for me when I left hospital a couple of weeks ago & given steps to take when I feel like I can't take it anymore & the suicidal thoughts start, problem is that when I decide that I don't want to be here anymore I don't think I'd be using the safety plan or calling anyone, I don't want to be stuck in my life anymore & am struggling to decide whether I actually want help or if I've decided that I've had enough as I don't think I can be helped...
  9. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    1472 posts
    24 August 2016 in reply to Becs125
    Hi Becs125, it's great that you have a safety plan.  Your life matters and it's good to have a number of strategies to support it.

    Safety plans are like any other tool, they work best when they're used correctly.  Here's some tips:

    1. It's best to access your safety plan when you are just starting to feel a bit bad, when you just  start noticing your thoughts are heading you in that direction.

    2. Feelings of ambivalence (mixed feelings) are common.  Many people find their thoughts going to and fro between wanting to live and wanting to die. The side of you that wants to live probably needs some help as suicidal thoughts can be so seductive, and this is another good trigger to recognise and go to your safety plan when you feel like this.

    3. Safety plans are best developed collaboratively so that the ideas are yours (you mention your plan was written up for you - how much input did you have into it?). The best time to write a safety plan is when you are feeling more aligned with that side of you that wants to live.

    Finally Becs125, as well as the threads here, you might want to also look at the Metanoia website - it's been put together by people who have been suicidal for people who are suicidal.

    I hope this helps.
    6 people found this helpful
  10. Nickname_65BD5CCF-CA54-46B9-B02C-9BDF53393F90
    Nickname_65BD5CCF-CA54-46B9-B02C-9BDF53393F90 avatar
    60 posts
    7 September 2016 in reply to Sophie_M


    I have used the app (iPhone 4s) and thought it was extremely well designed.

    I did it at the wrong time, which is beyond your power, and answering questions about who I have to talk to (no one) made me feel horrible, but that was self inflicted for trying to go do the plan when in a very depressive state. I think you already have a warning about this :)

    I've suggested it to a few people, and stressed the whole do it with someone you trust or when you you are on an up. I particularly think it useful for psychologists working with people and think you should make an effort at aiming some info about it towards them particularly people working with youth.

  11. Sharna.msn
    Sharna.msn avatar
    4 posts
    13 September 2016
    I haven't been in hospital for a while now but recently two family members have taken they're own life. I feel like I can't talk about it with my family. I've never had a safety plan before, usually I just act on impulse.
  12. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    1472 posts
    13 September 2016 in reply to Sharna.msn
    Hi Sharna, I'm really sorry to hear that.  Acting on impulse is not the best way to keep yourself safe.  Why not speak with one of our counsellors on live chat?  They are online now and will be available till midnight tonight:
  13. MsPurple
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    MsPurple avatar
    1584 posts
    26 September 2016 in reply to Sophie_M

    HI everyone

    I thought I would add in something. I find it very daunting to complete a safety plan. I have only done one with my mental health nurse because I had to complete one to register for disability services. It was very general such as calling 000 if required and talking to my mum during uni hours if required. But I have never completed on by myself and being fully honest about it. I downloaded the BeyondNow app a while ago and looked at it and struggled to do it. I am going to complete it now but I was just wanting to add in that for me it was a bit daunting and I am pretty sure it is normal to feel this way

    Stay safe :)

    1 person found this helpful
  14. LadyLazarus
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    LadyLazarus avatar
    10 posts
    8 November 2016 in reply to Becs125

    Hi Becs125, How are you? Still with us hopefully. I've been through 3 bouts of clinical depression and I know how you feel. You probably are unable to complete a safety plan because the darkness is holding you down. Your brain is spiralling and making everything feel worse and harder than normal. The good news is that you can get through this and there is support for you. Hey, if I could crawl out of the hole - so can you.

    Also, having lost my mum to suicide, I made a vow to never do that to anyone I loved, because its a pain not even your worst enemy deserves. xx

    2 people found this helpful
  15. Artistaffame
    Artistaffame avatar
    7 posts
    14 January 2017 in reply to Sophie_M
    My psychologist actually made me download the app in her office and we did the safety plan together. Its good because I can recognize when my thoughts are getting too overwhelming. And make plans to do something to distract myself. Its great also having numbers on hand that i can call and know i can speak to someone. That in itself can help
  16. velvetfaerie
    velvetfaerie avatar
    2672 posts
    28 February 2017 in reply to Artistaffame

    I have been referred back to counselling.

    My GP made me promise to go to the offices if I am in crisis.

    I need to keep busy and not think about things but then i get exhausted.

    I am at my wits end at the moment. Struggling with life and keeping my shit together.

    I might download that app.

  17. Lucy3
    Lucy3 avatar
    10 posts
    22 May 2017 in reply to Sophie_M

    I think I have a bit of a Plan in place. I'm not sure most of it is actually a plan as more of a coping mechanism.


    My partner helps me. He locks away my medication and only gives me what i need when I need it. He's a good boy :).

    I also promise myself every morning, no matter what happens, I will give myself 24 hours to work through issues. No sudden decisions.

    I also ensure every day that I spend time patting/ massaging my little dog. She loves the massage and I calm down when with her

    If thats a plan then it does seem to be working.

    I might however check out your app anyway as I do love being proactive in my health.

    Thanks for reading :)

    1 person found this helpful
  18. toodepressed
    toodepressed avatar
    11 posts
    5 September 2017 in reply to DoulaToula
  19. Quercus
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Quercus avatar
    3393 posts
    13 October 2017

    Hi everyone,

    I feel like I've been encouraging safety plans a lot lately and repeating one thing my psychologist encouraged in me...

    Make your safety plan incredibly thorough and detailed. So that when you are in a space where you can't think about anything but self harm or suicide you don't have to think about what to do... Just work through the steps. One dot point at a time.

    My psychologist said the point was giving yourself time. Time for the feelings to pass. Time to realise that this impulse will pass and suicide will not make the pain go away.. . It will just give it to someone else (people who care about you).

    For me this meant a HUGE plan on my fridge and written out on my phone. No thinking involved just follow my own plans and keep safe.

    • Distraction techniques listed out in dot points (all realistic things and a LOT of them). Most importantly options for ANY time of day or night.
    • Then names and numbers of people I could call. First friends and family. Then the helplines (all of them). Then the suicide call back service. All numbers listed. Read and dial and talk. One at a time.
    • Then a list of options of where I could go to have company and keep myself physically safe. Or people I know I could call and ask to come to me. What I needed to do to keep my environment safe (ie asking hubby to take meds and certain things out of the house).
    • Then emergency plan. What to do if all else fails. Where to go. Numbers to call. And to make sure the first aid kit is stocked and accessible at all times before this point.

    Personally I don't use apps. Your safety plan can be as enormous as you need. In any format that works for you. The only goal is keeping yourself safe. How you achieve that is up to you.

    2 people found this helpful
  20. LuLu.
    LuLu. avatar
    206 posts
    23 October 2017 in reply to Quercus

    I do have a safety plan and I believe it is very good that beyond blue is providing this for its users.

    for me i am not sure I take myself seriously enough to actually use it. When i am in a bad place I overthink it and say to myself “you have been worse” or “you can feel even worse then this you don’t need the safety plan yet” I suppose i am just unsure if i will ever be in real danger to myself. Sometimes I worry about myself but not enough to open the app and review my plan.

    I am not sure if anyone else has felt like this before.

  21. Violet1
    Violet1 avatar
    19 posts
    1 November 2017 in reply to LuLu.

    I have the Beyond Blue safety plan and used it several times over recent months.I find that when I am feeling very depressed I cannot work a computer but I can manage to use the phone app when I am confused and muddle headed.

    I like Quercus's idea of making your plan very detailed. I find the phone app very reassuring that I have it. I don't have any friends or family listed to call but I do have the lifeline number. It feels like a little friend in my pocket that keeps me company and goes wherever I go.

    I also have made a "Care Box" (My Psychiatrist suggested that)= shoe box with photos of my children when they were young and a few photos of the sea and other things I like.

    I also have a "Care Box" on Pinterest, so I can look at lots of beautiful photos of nature and animals etc .

    2 people found this helpful

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