Beyond Blue is encouraging people who experience suicidal thoughts to explore the benefits of suicide safety planning on World Suicide Prevention Day 2022.
Nine people take their own lives each day in Australia, and one in six Australians have had thoughts of suicide during their lifetime.
Research shows people can reduce the intensity of suicidal thoughts by referring to a safety plan prepared in advance, however emerging trends suggest many people with recent thoughts of suicide have not heard of suicide safety planning.
Aged-standardised data shows suicide rates have increased over the past decade, and annual suicide deaths continue to significantly outnumber the national road toll.
Suicide safety plans can be created on Beyond Blue’s Beyond Now app. The plans are personalised and provide ways to cope and reasons for living in easy-to-follow steps that can be accessed on a mobile or digital device when thoughts of suicide emerge.
Jenna Rositani uses the app and said the safety plans helped them find a way through suicidal thoughts, as well providing their support network with guidance about what to do.
“The plan is at my fingertips, and it takes the awkwardness out of the conversations. I can simply show people ways they can help me, and what to watch out for, so they know what is happening,” Jenna Rositani said.
“When I am unwell and don’t have much insight into my behaviour, I know that I can look at the app to remind me what I need to do.”
Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said being proactive and preparing for those moments where suicidal thoughts intrude in people’s lives was vital.
“When bushfire season hits, many people will have a bushfire plan prepared to keep them safe. Workplaces practice evacuation drills so they know what to do in an emergency. Having a plan can make all the difference,” Ms Harman said.
“However, few people know what a suicide safety plan is, and that needs to change.
“We know that thoughts of suicide can pass, but in those moments, people can feel overwhelmed and need ways to cope. The Beyond Now app is easy to use, can be carried everywhere, and helps people find a way through suicidal thoughts.
“Users have all their coping strategies in one place mapped with what they need to get them through what can be an all-consuming experience.”
A safety plan organises a person’s coping tools in a series of steps:
- Recognising your warning signs
- Reasons to live
- How to distract you from suicidal thoughts
- People and places to connect with, and
- Family, friends and professionals you can talk to.
People can use the app to personalise their plan by uploading photos and videos reminding them of things that are important to them, such as family or pets.
Ms Harman said it was important to create a safety plan before a suicidal crisis and ideally with a health professional or someone you trust.
“When someone is highly distressed, they may not be able to think clearly enough to remember their coping strategies. So developing a safety plan with a health professional and other support networks can also help people recognise their warning signs and plan ahead,” she said.
For more information about suicide safety planning or to download the free Beyond Now app, click here
Thoughts about suicide can be distressing and completing a safety plan is one way to cope, however other supports are vital.
If you are concerned about someone or feel they are at immediate risk of suicide, call 000.
Crisis support is available 24 hours a day at Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
People can also connect with others who may be experiencing similar thoughts at Beyond Blue’s safe, supportive peer-to-peer online forums by visiting forums.beyondblue.org.au