Suicide Safety Plan Wallet Cards at the Institute
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. The Institute has helped many people who’ve had thoughts of suicide, through our counseling services, Safety Planning Groups and more. Recently, we developed a pocket-size safety planning “wallet card” for people experiencing thoughts of suicide.
What is a safety plan?
A safety plan is a written, prioritized list of coping strategies and sources of support for someone thinking about suicide, to prevent a suicidal crisis. It’s something that can be created with a mental health professional, based on a person’s unique experience with suicidal thoughts.
Who should consider using a suicide safety plan wallet card?
Safety planning is an effective intervention for people who have suicidal thoughts. Offering this wallet card — which is portable — allows people experiencing suicidal thoughts to have their safety plan on hand. This is a small but powerful tool which can help people to prevent a suicidal crisis. When noticing signs and symptoms that a suicidal crisis is developing, a person can use their safety plan to help remind them of skills they know, people they can reach out to, and actions they can take to make their environment safer. Individuals are encouraged to share their safety plan with people they trust, so that supports can be involved in crisis prevention.
What other interventions can help?
Individuals can also join safety planning groups. People report they find mental health counseling groups helpful in reminding them they are not alone and there are others who have similar experiences.
The Institute for Family Health is a part of the crisis network for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Anyone can call the Lifeline, even if you are looking to help a loved one. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call or visit one of our health centers or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).