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Creating a strengths-based suicide safety plan

Support expecting and new parents in your care to manage their mental health with this suicide safety plan.

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A suicide safety plan can’t guarantee that someone will be safe from suicide – but using a safety plan can decrease the likelihood someone will progress from suicidal ideation to action.

Research suggests that suicide safety plans created in collaboration with healthcare providers may be more effective, and used more often, than a safety plan someone creates by themselves.

It’s common practice to create a suicide safety plan after someone has experienced a suicide attempt or crisis. To reduce the risk of suicide, you can pre-emptively create a mental health safety plan with any parent in your care who is concerned about their mental health, including thoughts of suicide. 

When you’re helping the person to complete their safety plan, consider using a free app like BeyondNow, so they have access to their suicide safety plan on their phone. 

Perinatal practice tip: Whether you’re providing support in pregnancy to someone with older children, or postnatal support to the parent of a newborn, always include babies and older children in each parent’s personalised safety plan. 

Helpful Information

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A strong safety plan includes these six steps

1

Step One: Recognising personal warning signs and triggers.

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Step Two: Internal coping strategies

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Step Three: Social support

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Step Four: Contact people for support with suicidal thoughts/urges

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Step Five: Healthcare providers to contact for help

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Step Six: Environmental safety

Safety plans can change and evolve with time.

It’s a good idea to review them periodically to see: 

  • If the person is using the plan and finding it helpful. 
  • Which aspects of the safety plan have been useful during a suicide crisis. 
  • If more support options are needed as the person builds their personal community of care. 

 

Collaborative care is the key.

 

If you’re exploring other options for mental health support, seek the person’s consent to provide a warm handover or referral where possible.  

There is also a range of evidence-based perinatal mental health programs and apps that you can share with expecting and new parents in your care. 

These resources align with Step 2 of a Suicide Safety Plan: 

For expecting and new Mums: Mum2BMoodBooster and MumMoodBooster 

For expecting and new Dads: SMS4Dads 

First Nations fathers: DeadlyDads 

For young people managing self-harm urges: Calm Harm app. 

 

There are many resources and services available in Australia for expecting and new parents experiencing suicidal ideation. 

 

Always remember – hope survives and thrives in the connections we make. 

A compassionate conversation about suicide can make a life-changing - even life-saving - difference to the expecting and new parents in your care. 

Creating a strengths-based suicide safe plan
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Everyone’s experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting is unique and brings different rewards and challenges. Our mental health checklist can help you to see if what you’re experiencing or observing in a loved one could be a reason to seek help.