When someone is thinking about suicide, often it's not so much they actually want to die, but that they can't cope with the pain of living anymore. And within their distress is a part of them, sometimes only a small part, that still wants to live, if only life wasn't so hard.
To put the part of you that wants to live in charge, it's helpful to come up with a plan for how you'll get through these tough moments. This is called a
safety plan. It's important to create your safety plan before you're in the middle of a crisis. You'll have a clearer perspective on your reasons for living and you're in a better position to think of effective ways to keep yourself safe, rather than trying to plan when you're in the middle of a crisis and you're overwhelmed with emotions.
A good safety plan will involve other people you trust. This might be a health professional, a family member or a close friend. Reaching out to someone and letting them know about your plan might seem daunting, but their support can really help. Together you can identify any warning signs that you might be struggling to cope, such as problems sleeping or drinking too much. Often other people can see these changes in us before we realise ourselves.
And then it's about putting in place a strategy to help you get through these tough moments. What works is really different for different people which is why a safety plan is specifically tailored to you. Your safety plan will also help connect you immediately with the right services in emergency situations.
Personally, I've seen safety plans be a life-saving tool for people going through the hardest of times. They help you feel more prepared, they mobilise your backup team and they give you strategies to use when you need them most.
Having a safety plan on your phone is a great idea, so it's right there in your pocket when you need it.
Please take the time to develop your own safety plan, or suggest it to someone that you care about. If you need immediate support call triple zero or contact your regular health practitioner.
To learn more about safety planning, and to create your own safety plan go to the beyondblue website, or download the BeyondNow app from the App Store or Google Play.