If you’re a teen who tends to have emotional issues, experience depression, or struggle with suicidal thoughts, perhaps creating a plan for yourself might be a good idea. Likely, there are days when you’re feeling great. And then there might also be days when you’re not feeling so well. You might feel sad, depressed, or suicidal.
On the days that are more challenging, it could be incredibly useful to have something to turn to when your thoughts become more and more challenging. Rather than having to think about how to get help, you can quickly turn to your safety plan. For instance, things to include in your safety plan are:
Your own contact information – your address, home phone number, cell number, and your employer, if you have one. If you had to call for help, you wouldn’t have to try to remember your contact details. And this might be difficult anyway, if you’re in an emotionally challenging state. Having your details written out can be handy.
Your parents’ contact information – Again, this is for your own convenience. However, it’s also for those who come to your aid. A doctor, paramedic, nurse, or police officer might need to contact your parents about your well being.
Your doctor’s contact information – This could include your medical doctor and your psychiatrist, if you have one. Having these numbers nearby when you are having a difficult experience can make calling them easier. You might also want to include your preferred hospital, your second choice hospital, and their addresses.
Medical information – Along these lines, it would be important to write down the medications you’re taking, if any, as well as any allergies you have. Although you might know this clearly now, it might slip your mind when you’re in need of help. Having it all together on one sheet can make seeking help easier. Furthermore, you may also want to include your insurance information. This could include your insurance carrier, account number, and the name under which the insurance might be listed, such as one of your parents.
Support Information – Lastly, you could include in your safety plan, information that is relevant to providing you with the best support, as well as information that might support you too! For instance, a safety plan could include:
- your triggers, such life events, travel, physical illness, or stress
- warning signs such as talking fast, feeling paranoid, movement that is very slowed down, excessive alcohol or drug use, and lack of sleep
- what your friends and family can say or do that are particularly soothing, calming and reassuring for you
- what your friends and family should do when you’re in crisis, such as take away the car keys, lock up anything dangerous, such as alcohol or medications.
- what emergency staff should do for you such as talk slowly, explain things, or observe your personal space
- why your life is worth living, such as your family, your future, your friends
A safety plan is easy to create. However, it should be done when you’re feeling well. It would also be helpful to create one with a parent, therapist, or adult you trust. Although it might take some thoughtful effort, having one can ensure your safety when life feels challenging.