12 Benefits Of Having A Safety Plan - Mental Health (2023)

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When I was researching for my blog post for Suicide Prevention Day(Suicide And Suicide Prevention: Advice And Information), I came across a coping strategy I’d long forgotten: a safety plan. Thus, I’ve created a safety plan template anyone could use to help them stay safe.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

You might also want to check out my previous article ‘Suicide And Suicide Prevention: Advice And Information‘ because it contains some advice on how to help someone who’s suffering from suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Before I carry on with this post, please remember that it’s really important to speak to someone if you’re feeling suicidal or you’re worried you’ll harm yourself. Please visit my pageGlobal Crisis Lines And Support and UK Crisis Lines And Supportfor a list of global and UK crisis lines, hotlines, chat services, and text services if you need to talk to someone.


What Is A Safety Plan?

There are two main types of safety plans. The first is a safety plan that covers what you could do to avoid or manage a future event where you’re at risk of harm. For example, a plan of what you could do the next time you feel suicidal. This kind of safety plan allows you to follow a guide created by yourself when you’re in a rational and stable state. Allowing your more unstable self to benefit from your wisdom and knowledge during a time when it’s harder to access that.

(Video) 12 Benefits Of Having A Safety Plan

The second type of safety plan is a plan you use in the moment when you’re at risk of harm. Effectively, it’s a worksheet to help keep you busy and distracted whilst the risk to yourself passes. For example, if you’re struggling with thoughts of self-harm this would give you something to do to help distract yourself until the thoughts pass.

Two Groups Who Could Benefit Most From Creating A Safety Plan

There are two main groups of people who could benefit the most from having a safety plan: those who self-harm and those who struggle with suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Remember, anyone could reach a state where self-harming and thinking about taking your own life could happen. Mental health problems don’t discriminate.

The @NHSuk states that the current estimate for young people who self-harm is at around 10%. But people from other age groups also self-harm Click To Tweet

Thoughts and feelings of self-harm and wanting to end your life are more common than most people would believe. According toWHO, suicide rates are estimated at being around 793,000 worldwide in 2016.

It has been reported that a history of self-harm can be an indicator of a higher risk that someone might try to take their own life. According to Chan et al. (2016), 32% of people who attempted suicide had a prior history of self-harm.

12 Benefits Of Having A Safety Plan - Mental Health (1)

This is supported by Morgan et al. (2017). Whose team found that self-harming children and adolescents were 17 times more likely to die as a result of taking their own lives than those who don’t self-harm.

However, just because there’s a link between the two, doesn’t mean the two can be grouped together. The difference in mindsets between the two is quite different, which some people might be surprised to hear. But bear with me and let me try to explain why.

Each year, 1 in 5 females and 1 in 7 males engage in self-injury, according to Healthyplace.com Click To Tweet

Suicide typically comes from a place of despair, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Those who want to end their lives want the pain to stop and they intend to make the suffering stop by ending their lives.

(Video) We All Have Mental Health

Whereas self-harming is normally an unhealthy coping strategy to help them cope with life so they can carry on living. They’re just looking for a form of release and relief to ease their emotional pain.


Because of these differences, it is advisable to have a different plan for each possible situation you’re at risk of. This is because the best way to manage each risk will be different.


For example, if you’re unable to stop self-harming, then the next best thing is harm reduction. Completing the safety plan will help you develop coping strategies, which you’ll also be able to hone and develop as you figure out which strategies work best for you. This will lead to you better being able to manage your self-harming thoughts and feelings. Which, in time, will lead to you no longer self-harming.

Problem-solving skills are meant to function as a protective factor for managing suicidal thoughts and feelings, although the evidence isn’t strong. But if true, then creating a safety plan, and updating it, should help you develop better problem-solving skills, which will help you better protect yourself from yourself.

According to gov.uk, there are 4,500 suicides each year in England, and around 13 people end their lives every day Click To Tweet

Problem-solving skills are meant to function as a protective factor for managing suicidal thoughts and feelings, although the evidence isn’t strong. But if true, then creating a safety plan, and updating it, should help you develop better problem-solving skills, which will help you better protect yourself from yourself.

Furthermore, a safety plan helps you plan in advance for the possibility of a future where you could find yourself in a suicidal despair state. Having a safety plan will allow you to take the steps needed to help you navigate this situation a lot easier than you might otherwise have.

Filling in the safety plan workbook will help give you something to distract yourself with until the thoughts and feelings pass. Whilst at the same time allowing you to better prepare yourself for future episodes.

The pre-planned safety plan will also help to distract you by giving you a pre-thought out plan to help you navigate the situation. Which should make handling such episodes easier.

(Video) Step by Step walkthrough on how to fill out your Safety Plan - Mental Health Action Plan

Both safety plan documents might even help you realise what makes you self-harm (to gain control, to deal with difficult emotions, for relief, and to punish yourself), or what leads you to your suicidal episodes, and thus enables you to work on those issues.


12 Reasons To Have A Safety Plan

  1. Safety plans will allow you to pre-plan for when you’re in a state of despair and can’t think clearly, allowing you to navigate this situation easier.
  2. A safety plan will contain the information you need to help you handle the situation(s) you’ve planned for.
  3. A safety plan could help you reduce the likelihood of the situation you’re planning for will happen. But if the situation does still happen, it should help reduce its severity.
  4. It’s a simple solution to help with a complex problem.
  5. Creating a safety plan will help you recognise your triggers, what makes them worse, and what can help. Which will help you better manage it in the long term, especially if you stay on top of updating it and share your plan with a professional as part of your treatment.
  6. They can be of help even if you’re not in a crisis.
  7. It can give you a small sense of reassurance because you’ve prepared yourself for how to handle the situation(s).
  8. If you’re comfortable doing so, it’s something you can share with your friends and family, so they will also know how to best help you in such a situation.
  9. To keep you or a loved one safe.
  10. Basically, it helps stop thoughts and feelings of self-harm and suicide from turning into actions.
  11. Giving you back control for when you might not feel like you have any.
  12. Using a safety plan could help you with your long-term recovery goals.

Clickhere for a PDF copy of a Safety Plan you can use and clickherefor the PDF of a Safety Plan Workbook. You can also find these links on my newResourcespage.

What Else Could You Do?

You could create a comfort box filled with the things you like, such as photos of the people you care about, snacks you enjoy, favourite quotes and song lyrics, gifts from someone you care about, and/or anything that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences of creating and/or using a safety plan in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.

Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, then you can make a donation of any size below as well. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.


Chan, M., Bhatti, H., Meader, N., Stockton, S., Evans, J., O’Connor, R., Kapur, N., &Kendall, T. (2016). Predicting suicide following self-harm: Systematic review of risk factors and risk scales.British Journal of Psychiatry,209(4), 277-283. Retrieved fromdoi:10.1192/bjp.bp.115.170050 and https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/predicting-suicide-following-selfharm-systematic-review-of-risk-factors-and-risk-scales/C9D595168EDF06401A823E2E968915E1/core-reader.

Morgan, C., Webb, R. T., Carr, M. J., Kontopantelis, E., Green, J., Chew-Graham, C. A., Kapur, N., & Ashcroft, D. M. (2017). Incidence, clinical management, and mortality risk following self harm among children and adolescents: Cohort study in primary care.BMJ (Clinical research ed.),359.Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4351 andhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5641980.

(Video) Understanding the Transition from Suicidal Thoughts/Suicide Attempts and the Role of Safety Planning


What are the benefits of a safety plan? ›

A safety plan acknowledges what risk factors a client is experiencing, what they can do on their own to maintain safety, who to contact for help, and where to go if they cannot be safe. It also provides a client with resources if they are unable to maintain safety on their own.

What's a mental health safety plan? ›

A Mental Health Safety Plan is a preventative tool designed to help support those who struggle with mental wellbeing. It may be difficult to think clearly when you feel really low or incredibly overwhelmed. It may be difficult to ignore these feelings. Safety plans are best created when not in crisis.

What is a safety plan mental health nursing? ›

Safety planning helps you to make sense of and understand your thoughts and behaviours in relation to suicidal intent. It helps you to think about what support you have in place and what you can do that can help you if you're feel distressed.

How do you write a safety plan for anxiety? ›

This is an empowering and positive step you can do for yourself.
how to recognise your warning signs
  1. how to recognise your warning signs.
  2. details of your own coping strategies, such as what has helped you cope in the past and what you can do to help yourself now.
  3. contact details of people you know who may be able to help.

What is the most important part of a safety plan? ›

Plan Implementation

Implementation is the most important part of the written plan. A company's health and safety plan should document how and when employees will be trained.

Why is important safety important? ›

A safe and healthy workplace not only protects workers from injury and illness, it can also lower injury/illness costs, reduce absenteeism and turnover, increase productivity and quality, and raise employee morale. In other words, safety is good for business.

What are the 4 major objectives of the mental health Action plan? ›

The original four major objectives remain unchanged: more effective leadership and governance for mental health; the provision of comprehensive, integrated mental health and social care services in community-based settings; implementation of strategies for promotion and prevention; and strengthened information systems, ...

What is the purpose of a mental health plan? ›

A Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP) is a support plan for someone experiencing mental health issues. A general practitioner (GP) will assess if a person has signs of mental illness and whether they would benefit from mental health treatment (6 sessions are subsidised by Medicare).

How does mental health impact safety? ›

Safety is about people. Understanding human factors (how humans interact with a system) and psychology play a monumental role in safety. An individual under vast amounts of personal stress is more likely to make mistakes or be unmotivated to follow procedure.

What is a safety plan explain in your own words? ›

A safety plan is a formal documented procedure that is to be followed by all the members of the workplace in case of an emergency. Every organization's safety plan is different depending upon the nature of the work that is being carried out by the organization and the types of hazards that are present in the workplace.

How do you explain a safety plan? ›

A Safety Plan is a written document that describes the process for identifying the physical and health hazards that could harm workers, procedures to prevent accidents, and steps to take when accidents occur.

How do you write a mental health safety plan? ›

A safety plan identifies a set of strategies and support systems that your loved one can use when he or she experiences warning signs of a crisis.
  1. Identify warning signs. ...
  2. Develop internal coping strategies. ...
  3. Identify people and social settings that provide distraction. ...
  4. Have a list of people you can ask for help.
24 Feb 2017

What are 7 of the 10 safety tips? ›

Many of these accidents could have been avoided by following these workplace safety tips.
  • 1) Reduce Workplace Stress. ...
  • 2) Use Tools and Machines Properly. ...
  • 3) Use Mechanical Aids When Possible. ...
  • 4) Wear Protective Equipment. ...
  • 5) Stay Sober. ...
  • 6) Be Aware of Your Surroundings. ...
  • 7) Correct Posture Protects Your Back.

What should a personal safety plan include? ›

Safety Plans
  • Detail plans in case of dangerous situations or changes in the relationship, such as breaking up.
  • Identify safe friends and safe places.
  • Identify the essential items to take should one need or decide to leave home.
  • Include information about local relationship abuse resources and legal rights.

What are the 10 points of safety? ›

Workplace safety tips
  • Use tools, equipment and machinery properly. ...
  • Report any unsafe conditions. ...
  • Wear all necessary safety gear. ...
  • Keep your workplace clear from clutter. ...
  • Stay hydrated. ...
  • Practice good posture when sitting or lifting. ...
  • Take regular breaks. ...
  • Be aware of your surroundings.

What are the 3 main points of safety? ›

To create a culture of workplace safety, focus on the following three areas: ergonomics, fatigue, and fall prevention.

Why is safety important value? ›

Safety should be viewed as a value like honesty, working hard and reporting to work on time. Values are embedded; while priorities can change. Making safety a depot value leads to building a workplace safety culture. So, safety is fundamental to operational excellence.

Why it is so important to follow safety first? ›

Following guidelines keeps employees healthy and protects their well-being. They can perform their jobs more effectively, and be confident that they don't have to worry about being injured or suffering from an illness. This creates a more positive atmosphere and everyone can be more comfortable at work.

Why is it important to manage safety? ›

A good health and safety management system can help minimise risk and protect against accidents in the workplace. It is not acceptable for anyone to be hurt or fatally injured at their place of work. Implementing a health and safety system can help to reduce accidents and boost morale within the business.

What are 5 strategies to improve mental health? ›

5 steps to mental wellbeing
  • Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. ...
  • Be physically active. Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. ...
  • Learn new skills. ...
  • Give to others. ...
  • Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

What are the 5 tips for offering mental health support? ›

Top 5 tips to maintain balanced mental health
  • Establish boundaries. ...
  • Manage expectations. ...
  • Be gentle and compassionate with yourself, practice empathy. ...
  • Quiet your mind to prevent overthinking/minimize rumination. ...
  • Connect with other people and yourself.
15 Dec 2021

What are the benefits of a treatment plan? ›

Why Use a Treatment Plan?
  • Treatment plans provide a guide to treatment for both the therapist and client.
  • Treatment plans can reduce the risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and the potential to cause unintentional harm to clients.
  • Treatment plans facilitate easy and effective billing since all services rendered are documented.

What are the benefits of mental health assessment? ›

A Mental Health Assessment can assess the employee's ability to perform their work role and suggest reasonable adjustments which can help. This Mental Health Assessment is also accompanied by a screening of other health needs, e.g. physical needs.

Which benefit may result from using mental health services? ›

Improved concentration, enhanced creativity, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and better overall performance are all very real benefits of good mental health.

Is mental health part of safety? ›

Safety in the Workplace also Includes Mental Health -- Occupational Health & Safety.

Why is psychological health and safety important? ›

Addressing psychological health and safety is critically important. A good PH&S strategy benefits employers, affecting workforce stability, productivity, insurance costs, risk of legal or regulatory sanctions, and the financial bottom line.

How does feeling safe contribute to mental wellbeing? ›

When we feel safe, we find it easier to relax, do all the things that comfort us, and focus on the work or study we need to do to help ensure our stability. Home is where you might spend a large amount of time, so it is important to feel secure and safe there.

What's the most important part of a safety plan and why? ›

1. Hazard Assessment. Perhaps the most critical element of workplace safety and an effective safety program is regular and honest safety audits to identify and correct workplace hazards.

What are some safety examples? ›

The Basics of Safety
  • STAY ALERT - and stay alive. ...
  • WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES - work clothes should fit properly. ...
  • USE THE RIGHT TOOLS - if you need a hammer, get a hammer. ...
  • LEARN HOW TO LIFT - Lifting takes more than muscle; it is an art.

What are the 6 important safety reminders? ›

How can we help keep our roads safe?
  • Regularly check you car's condition. ...
  • Always put a seat belt on. ...
  • Always use signals when turning. ...
  • Don't text and drive. ...
  • Respect traffic rules. ...
  • Do not change lanes too often. ...
  • Do not drive under the influence of alcohol, or when you are feeling drowsy.
  • Always check the speed limit.

What are the 5 elements of safety explain? ›

However, for you to gain the knowledge of these elements, it will likely require extra effort in understanding the 5 E's of safety - education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement, and evaluation. Education is a significant part of your strategy that will ensure you promote a safe environment and workplace.

Are safety plans effective? ›

Safety plans are exactly that – plans. They focus on what individuals plan to do to keep themselves safe. In advance of a mental health crisis, individuals write down coping strategies and supports that are helpful to them when they feel a sense of self-harm arise. Research shows that safety plans work.

What are 20 general safety rules? ›

20 most important safety rules in the workplace
  • Follow the dress code. ...
  • Wear safety gear. ...
  • Maintain personal hygiene. ...
  • Take responsibility for your personal safety. ...
  • Maintain a clean workspace. ...
  • Follow work procedures. ...
  • Learn how to act in an emergency. ...
  • Report accidents if they occur.

What are 10 safety rules at work? ›

Top 10 safety tips for the workplace
  • Understand risks. ...
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all time. ...
  • Know where the first aid kit/officer are. ...
  • Taking regular breaks. ...
  • Always using equipment properly. ...
  • Pay attention to signage. ...
  • Know where emergency exits are. ...
  • Keep emergency exist accessible.
7 Sept 2022

What are the 8 safety rules? ›

8 Safety Tips in the Workplace
  1. Always Report Unsafe Conditions. ...
  2. Keep a clean workstation. ...
  3. Wear protective equipment. ...
  4. Take breaks. ...
  5. Don't skip steps. ...
  6. Stay up to date with new procedures or protocols. ...
  7. Maintain proper posture. ...
  8. Offer guidance to new employees.
29 Jun 2021

What are 4 safety procedures? ›

General Safety
  • Don't fool around. ...
  • Never work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, as you are a hazard to yourself and your co-workers.
  • Pay particular attention to moving objects, such as equipment, dollies, mixers, and slicers.
  • Walk, do not run, in the work areas.
  • Stay completely alert on the job.

What are the 4 types of personal safety? ›

Eye protection – for example, spectacles/goggles, shields, visors. Hearing protection – for example, ear muffs and plugs. Hand protection – for example, gloves and barrier creams. Foot protection – for example, shoes/boots.

What are the 7 core elements of successful safety programs? ›

OSHA's 7 Core Elements of an Effective Safety and Health Program
  • Management Leadership.
  • Worker Participation.
  • Hazard Identification & Assessment.
  • Hazard Prevention & Control.
  • Education & Training Program.
  • Evaluation & Improvement.
  • Management of Contractors / Staffed Employees.
25 Oct 2019

What is the purpose of a safety action plan? ›

The Strategy sets targets for reducing MSD-related harm amongst NSW workers. It also enables SafeWork NSW to change attitudes and improve knowledge and behaviours around the way work-related MSDs are prevented and managed, whilst ensuring compliance with work health and safety legislative requirements.

Why is it important to have a safety plan in the workplace? ›

Safety and health programs help businesses: Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Improve compliance with laws and regulations. Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers' compensation premiums.

What is the purpose of a safety management plan? ›

The Safety Management Plan defines the mechanisms for interaction and oversight for the six primary functions involved with the Management of the Environment of Care. These functions include safety, security, hazardous materials and wastes, fire/life safety, medical equipment, and utilities management.

What are the benefits when developing a safety plan with a survivor? ›

Safety plans often include steps which can be taken should the victim need to flee abuse or stay safer during an episode of abuse, identify supportive individuals the victim can contact for assistance and support, and incorporate ways the victim can address their emotional needs during times of crisis.

What is the main goal of safety and health? ›

What is OSH? Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and has a strong focus on primary prevention of hazards. Its goal is to prevent accidents and harm to people from work-related activities.

What are the 4 main objectives of the health and safety? ›

The 4 main objectives that the act enforces are:
  • Employers' responsibilities.
  • Employees' responsibilities.
  • Enforcement of Health and Safety legislation.
  • Enforcement action.

What are the 10 top reasons why workplace safety is important? ›

Here are the top 10 reasons.
11 Nov 2019

What needs to be in a safety plan? ›

What Is a Safety Plan? A Safety Plan is a written document that describes the process for identifying the physical and health hazards that could harm workers, procedures to prevent accidents, and steps to take when accidents occur.

What are the key benefits for you and your Organisation of introducing a health and safety management system? ›

lessened threat of legal action; improved standing among suppliers and partners; better reputation for corporate responsibility among investors, customers and communities; increased productivity, because employees are healthier, happier and better motivated.


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(NAMI Santa Fe)
2. SUICIDE: how and why to make a suicide safety plan + great online tool
(Pooky Knightsmith Mental Health)
3. Mental Health Advanced Practice Webinar – 27 September 2021
(Health Education England - HEE)
4. Meaningful Safety Planning: A collaborative, dynamic document #Power #Respect #Suicide #Selfharm
(Lisa Morrison Training & Consultancy)
5. ISO 45001 Health & Safety Management System Fundamentals and Requirements for Auditing and Legal C
(Nimonik Inc. )
6. 72nd Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee - Day 1
(U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
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