Safety plans are made for all sorts of reasons including: domestic violence, suicidal tendencies or idealization, self-injurious behaviors, for depression, and I’m sure other factors too. Mental Health agencies put a big emphasis on these plans.
In our family, we have used safety plans for almost all the above. In case you wonder, this post is to fill you in how to implement a Safety Plan, also providing insight if one might benefit you.
First, most safety plans include a “code word,” for when the safety plan needs activated. A code word is used so not to embarrass the person who needs the plan. It is also there outsiders are not privy to the information.
In our family, we like to use foods as code words. For instance, when a possible perpetrator came around our house, we were supposed to proclaim, “Cheesecake.” This meant there was danger and someone needed to call the police.
Other instances we used, “Sausage, Danish, etc.” The two former words were used when a certain child felt particularly low. Whenever she uttered those words, I knew to get her Safety Plan which was printed by the hospital and start to implement the actions detailed therein.
In the case of depression: self-care strategies are always part of the actions to take when the person feels very low. These are tailored to the person’s desires. In my case, her desires change frequently as to what she thinks will work best. I’m glad these actions aren’t set in stone because from season to season in Ohio sometimes taking a run outside isn’t feasible (icy, snowdrifts, etc).
With Domestic Violence, I took my necessities: social security cards, IDs, insurance cards, changes of clothes, and a small amount of cash and hid it at a non-disclosed friend’s house. This was hidden in a place where the “tormentor” was not aware that she was even a friend, who also had NO idea where she lived.
In this case, hiding my small box of stuff was part of the Actionable Plan. Other actions included keeping our house locked and security system armed. It was letting the local authorities know violence had occurred, pressing charges, and carefully documenting all threats, strange events (being stalked or followed).
The domestic violence safety plan also made actions for if the person invaded our home. We were to climb out an upstairs window and use a hook ladder to lower the children and I down. We also had a place to meet at a neighbor’s in case we needed to run.
Part of every Safety Plan, I have seen also covers the “Worst Case Scenario.” So what if a person declares how they will end their life.
In these cases we were prepared to call 911 to get help. We also had a list of mental facilities where this certain child might be placed.
With domestic violence, my name was on a list in case we felt so threatened that we needed to go “Off Grid,” and stay at a Battered Women’s Shelter at an undisclosed location for a time.
This Emergency planning is something not one of us wants to have happen. However, it is far better to have a cohesive plan, than to realize help is needed, having no idea what to do.
The last little bit of information, I can think of, is that in ALL cases of a Safety Plan being written, there is the possibility of danger. Thus, with all plans of this nature, all sharps, medicines, cleaners, ties, ropes, weapons, etc. must be either locked and put away or at least hidden very well. See more in the posts: 5 Keys to Keep Kids Safe and Locked: Sharps, Meds, and Cleaners – Oh My.
In any situation where a Safety Plan is needed this is always one of the first actions to take. It is a “No Brainer,” but something many of us might over look.
Most always, the people involved in the Safety Plan have to commit to attend all appointments, therapies, and groups to keep services active. This also allows professionals to decide if the plan is still needed or if it needs tweaked.
At the same time, almost every plan makes the person who needs the plan commit to abstaining from any dangerous behavior, especially using prohibited drugs and/or alcohol.
These plans aren’t jokes. They are meant to save lives. The plans promote health, restoration, and peace.
What have you needed a Safety Plan for? Please share in the comments below. Tell us if anything from different for you than what’s listed above.
If you would like to make your own safety plan for a matter, you can go to this website.
Thank you for stopping by. Please come again soon. Blessings to you and yours today, and always,
PS If you or someone you know is down, please call 1-800-SUICIDE (National Hopeline Network) or 1-800-273-TALK. If someone is experiencing domestic violence whether threatened or sustained, please call 1-800-799-7233.
It is better to be cautious than sorry. Find help, never hurts in the long-term.