A crisis plan is a document that reminds you where you can turn and what you can do to help yourself in a crisis. This can be a great resource when you feel suicidal or are getting urges to hurt yourself badly.
If you're interested in drawing up a crisis plan, this page gives some suggestions of what to include.
First of all, here are some questions to think about:
- What have you found helpful in the past? Jot these down and make sure you include them.
- Where are you likely to need your crisis plan and which format(s) will work best? For example, you could have a detailed plan in your bedroom and a condensed version on a card in your wallet.
- Will you want as many options as possible on the plan, or would a very long list be too overwhelming?
- Do you find it hard to make decisions in a crisis? If so, you might find it helpful to number the list in a fixed order that you'll work through, or make it a flow chart.
- How would you like to decorate your list? You could include colours and pictures that you find soothing, uplifting or even humorous.
Now here are some categories to include on your plan.
Sources of Help
These are people or services you can contact in a crisis. Make sure you write down their phone numbers and other contact details in your plan, so they're easily at hand.
Try to cover all hours of the day - for example, if your CPN is only available during office hours, include a helpline that's open in the evenings, overnight and at weekends. It's also a good idea to think about how you'll be able to contact people. If you find telephoning difficult, include some people or services you can contact by text, IM or in person.
Here are some suggestions:
- your GP and out-of-hours service
- any mental health professional you're seeing
- any crisis service you know of in your area
- friends and family who are happy to support you in a crisis
- contacts from self-help or support groups
These are things you can do by yourself that may help to get you through the crisis. Again, here are some suggestions:
- other creative activities e.g. painting, singing
- ideas from our alternatives page
- DBT coping skills
- challenging negative thoughts
- brainstorming solutions to whatever problem you're facing
- aromatherapy or pampering yourself
You might also find it helpful to create a crisis box or "happy box" containing items that will help get you through the crisis. You could keep your plan in the box, or include the box as an item in your plan. Here are some suggestions:
- essential oils, bubble bath, hand cream
- favourite books, CDs and DVDs
- self-help resources
- relaxation CDs
- letters from friends
- teddy bears
- art supplies
- henna tattoo paste, red pens or anything else you use as an alternative to self-harm
- any PRN medication you've been given for a crisis (but don't include large quantities if you might be tempted to OD)