Help make a safe plan

You can work with the person to make a safe plan to use when they need it most. This should include:

  • Recognising the warning signs: e.g. very negative thoughts; sleeping a lot; feeling trapped, hopeless, overwhelmed, or numb; risk behaviours, or self-neglect.
  • Identify coping strategies: an activity they enjoy or can distract them, e.g. a walk, a bath, video games, going for a drive, sport or exercise, watching TV, music.
  • Identify people or distracting social settings: list places or people they can meet or get in touch with to provide a distraction. Avoid bars, pubs, nightclubs, casinos, or gambling shops.
  • Identify chosen family or friends: make a list of people they can contact when they are feeling suicidal, people they can trust and feel safe talking to. Not anyone under the age of 18.
  • Identify professionals who can help: e.g. GP surgery, crisis helplines, emergency services, NHS24.
  • Make the environment safe: e.g. securely lock medications away, remove or secure lengths of rope, cable, belts, dressing gown cords if necessary from the home and garden, prevent access to firearms.

Helping to make a safe plan isn't the only way you can support someone with thoughts of suicide; you can also listen carefully to them, showing kindness and compassion, and you can signpost them to further sources of support.

Listen without judgement

Signpost further support

Suicide, living with your thoughts

Thinking about suicide is very common, and our guide 'Suicide, living with your thoughts' offers some helpful advice on how to cope if you find yourself in that position.