Safety Plan

Prompts to help you and your loved ones create your own safety plan documents.

What is a safety plan?

A safety plan is a document that can help you prepare for difficult mental health episodes / mental and emotional experiences / altered states. You can create one to prepare for suicidal episodes, for mania, dissociative episodes, trauma triggers, and more. You can have multiple safety plans for different types of issues. It’s important that the people involved in your safety plan are aware that they’re being included and that they know what type of support you expect of them.

It’s also important that people in your safety plan are able to access it when the time comes. A safety plan is a breathing document, in that it will evolve over time– it doesn’t have to be set in stone and you don’t have to fill it out all at once. You can come back to it over and over. It’s an extremely helpful tool for preparing for difficult mental and emotional experiences.

What you can include:





  • Things that may be a trigger (for eg. someone cancelling plans or raising their voice, certain types of scenes in a movie or mentions of a certain topic may be triggering)

  • Signs that I am being triggered or activated or heading into a certain state (physical sensations, thoughts and beliefs, behaviours: eg feeling dissociated and light-headed, heart racing, feeling flushed, feeling irritable and angry. Include external signs as well so that your support system may also be able to tell when you may have been triggered or may be heading into a particular state or episode)






  • What helps me (you can label each subcategory if you want: internal resources and skills, affirmations and quotes, memories, distractions, sensory tools, other)

  • Who can I contact (and for what: for emotional support, for distraction, for company, etc. We may not be able to get nor need the same things from everyone)

  • My communication needs while I’m triggered (do I have a hard time communicating with others when activated? Is there a phrase or indicator I can use to easily communicate to others when I am? Is there a way I would prefer others to communicate with me? Eg in simple sentences or through text) 

  • What can others do to help

  • Are there specific things certain people can do (such as a partner)

  • Things that aren’t helpful (eg certain phrases, touching me)

  • Who would I not want involved 

  • What mental health care provider or medical professionals can I or someone else contact

  • How can I alter my physical environment to feel safer (eg go somewhere quieter, go to a specific room in the house, ask someone if they can give me space, have someone stay with me)

  • Are there any places that can help me feel safer (eg beach, a drive, stay at someone else’s house)

  • What things should I try to avoid that may make it worse in the moment (loud environments, caffeine, social media, certain people)

  • Where do I not want to be (such as the hospital or at certain places)

  • If I am to be hospitalised or taken to a medical professional, is there anything that they should know (eg. all medications I am on, physical conditions I may have)

  • How do i know when I’m starting to feel better (what physical sensations, what cognitive changes do I feel, or what emotions come up: eg. my chest feels less tight, I feel more grounded to the present, I am more able to concentrate. Make sure to include any external signs as well so that others can tell when you’re starting to feel better, such as becoming more animated and less reserved)





  • How can I comfort myself after (places, movies, people, certain types of food, etc)

  • Are there any physical needs I should take care of (sleep, drinking water)

  • Is there any way others can support me? (checking in on me regularly, helping with errands or other tasks that are overburdening me like work or school, reminding me to take my medication)

  • Is there anything this experience has taught me that I should use to update my safety plan (eg new tools that work, old ones that no longer do) 

  • Are there any long term actions I can take that would be helpful (eg make a therapy appointment, consider any life changes, have certain discussions in my relationships, learn new distress tolerance skills)

This safety plan is the copyright property of The Not Okay Movement. Please do not replicate without attribution.