The best time to do good crisis work is when you (or your client, or your family member, etc) aren’t currently in crisis. Take some time out during the good times to intentionally plan, create support networks, brainstorm, and build skills so when crisis comes, you don’t have to figure it out from scratch. A crisis plan (sometimes called a safety plan) can sound intimidating, but it it’s core, it’s a resource: a list of what to do, safe places to go, ways to safely distract, and people to reach out to when crises come.
All of us will eventually find ourselves in some kind of emotional distress in the future. Do you, your friends, family, or support people know how to recognize your cues and care well for you in that space?
Because this one feels extra important, a free printer-friendly version of this worksheet is available on Patreon for EVERYONE (no sign up or subscription to download this file) Find the download by clicking here.
If you need help creating a crisis plan urgently, reach out to a mental healthcare provider in your area or contact the crisis text line by texting “home” to 741741.
Crisis planning with a friend or family member doesn’t have to be a sort of official, one-time event. I’m not talking about filling out forms about risk factors and primary, secondary emergency contacts, I’m talking about the kind of conversations that might sound a little more like “Last time you were really down, I was scared because I didn’t know how to help you, can you tell me what kind of things help a little when things feel that bad?” or “I like that you know you can reach out to me when you are feeling bad and don’t you don’t go into hiding, do you know who you’d call if I wasn’t available?”
A good, usable, safely plan isn’t a printout of resources tucked aside somewhere with medical receipts, a usable safety plan is a plan that keeps reminders of the care the is available and how to access it in sight- preferable in a way that’s not overly clinical.
Conversations with your people outside of crisis, when everyone is thinking more clearly, help set expectations and boundaries for how crisis can be handled. It’s a good idea for all of us to develop our own personal crisis plan- a list of what to do, safe places to go, ways to safely distract, and people to reach out to when our own crises come.
If you need an easy to use crisis planning template, I’ve included the version pictured below as a FREE download on my Patreon account, which can be downloaded here.