You and your emergency clinician have determined that it is safe for you to be discharged. There are many things you can do to help yourself feel better when struggling with these feelings. Many services and people are available to support you and others who struggle with similar feelings.
Together we will create a written safety plan so that you understand your own warning signs, coping strategies and resources for help. We suggest you fill out the questions below, perhaps with a close friend or family member whom you trust:
- What are your warning signs that a crisis may be developing (eg, thoughts, images, situation, mood)?
- Identify coping strategies you can use to take your mind off your problems for at least a little while (eg, relaxation techniques, physical activity, spending time in nature, listening to music). What can you do, on your own, if you become suicidal again, to help yourself not to act on your thoughts or urges?
- Identify people and social settings that provide distraction. Who helps you feel better when you socialize with them? Let them know how you are feeling.
- Among your family or friends, who do you think you could contact for help during a crisis or when you're under stress?
- It is important that your environment is safe. When it comes to suicide, the most lethal method is firearms, and the most common method of attempt is medications. So, let's start there:
Firearms should be stored away from home until you are feeling better. Options include family, close friend, gun shop, shooting range. If off-site storage isn't an option, all firearms should be locked unloaded in a gun safe or tamper proof lockbox. You should not have access to the key or combination until you are well. Another option is to disassemble the gun and store a critical part locked or away from home. Hiding unlocked guns is not recommended.
Safely dispose of unused, expired, and unwanted medications. Keep only small quantities of needed medications on hand. Lock the rest, especially abuse prone medications such as opioids, anxiety pills, muscle relaxants, and amphetamines. Do not use alcohol or illegal drugs. Remove these from your home.
- Research shows that mental health treatment helps people recover from suicidal thoughts or feelings.
You have been scheduled a follow-up appointment ______________________________________
What obstacles do you think you may encounter in keeping your follow up appointment?
- The one thing that is most important to me and worth living for is:____________________________
If you ever feel like you may hurt yourself or others or have thoughts about taking your own life, get help right away. To get help:
- Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.).
- Go to your nearest emergency department.
- Call a suicide hotline to speak with a trained counselor.
The following suicide hotlines are available in the United States:
- 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
- 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
- 1-888-628-9454. This is a hotline for Spanish speakers.
- 1-800-799-4889. This is a hotline for TTY users.
- 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386). This is a hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning youth. www.thetrevorproject.org
- For a list of hotlines in Canada, visit suicide.org/hotlines/international/canada-suicide-hotlines.html
Contact a crisis center or a local suicide prevention center. To find a crisis center or suicide prevention center:
- Call your local hospital, clinic, community service organization, mental health center, social service provider, or health department. Ask for help with connecting to a crisis center.
- For a list of crisis centers in the United States, visit: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline org.
- For a list of crisis centers in Canada, visit: https://suicideprevention.ca/resources/#support-services.
Where to find more information: