I first heard about safely planning with my psychologist, and it followed a suicide attempt, where the psychologist suggested to me it might be a useful thing to have an alternate plan. So instead of going into the great depth of the planning of how to suicide, that it'd be a good idea if you had an alternate plan, one to stay alive.
An important part of my safety plan was identifying people who I would call my 'inner circle'. The most trusted people. That I could share with them, what was happening, and that they not only share with them, but they would have a very clearly identified role. My safety plan includes a number of different steps.
The initial step, of course, is as soon as I start to have any form of ideation, feeling that it'd be better not to be here, is to talk with my wife about it. She's my number one support person, and the second thing to do there is to immediately contact my psychologist and make an appointment.
To bridge between there and when I see the psychologist, I then use distraction. I do activities that I particularly enjoy doing and having conversations is really important to me. I'm always at my worst when I stop engaging with people around me.
I'm a writer, so expressing how I'm feeling is always very important, because removing it from inside, where I'm thinking, to outside where it's on paper, can often make it very plain to me what the problems are and what I need to avoid. One of the key issues in developing a plan, is that you must own it.
It's got to be your personalised plan, it's no good someone imposing that plan and saying 'Here's some steps you have to do.' Anything imposed is unlikely to take hold.
I think the app is marvellous. One of the things that impresses me the most is that it's going to be there, as a tool. I think that's going to be very very important, but also just the ease of use and the fact that it is simple to navigate. The relevant amount of information. And also I guess the fact it's your plan and that you can add and edit and change it to suit your needs.
The parts of the app that I think would be particularly helpful to me are the circle of friends and reminding me that it's important to connect and stay connected with those friends. And also the early warning signs. You can look at them early and not let them escalate.
I think a really important thing, particularly in light of recent research, which is showing that Australian men don't intervene in the ideation cycle until very, very late, if at all.
A safety plan's a great way of men being able to use the things that they normally would do, which is to plan and organise an event. And to use it early, to not let things escalate to the point where the only choice appears to be a suicide plan.