Updating your suicide safety plan during the coronavirus pandemic

Having thoughts of suicide at any stage of your life can feel overwhelming, and the pandemic might have brought additional challenges.

You may find it really hard to know what to do, or be feeling in such distress that you don't think you can cope. It’s important to know there are things you can do to help you get through.

Research has shown having a safety plan can reduce the intensity of suicidal thoughts and increase a person’s ability to cope with them.

Designed to be used as part of an overall mental wellbeing and safety strategy, Beyond Now is an app that helps you make your own safety plan to support you through times of sadness or grief.

If you have a safety plan in place, it’s important to update your plan to make sure it allows for any restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

We talk to two people who adapted their own suicide safety plan to respond to changes in their daily lives during the pandemic.

Mark’s story

Mark made multiple attempts to take his own life around 30 years ago.

He got through his suicidal crisis and today, with the support of his partner, ongoing psychiatrist consultations, medication and his work as a volunteer, Mark is able to manage his mental health.

He still experiences suicidal thoughts, but describes himself as safe, thanks in part to a comprehensive Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).

Find out more about the changes Mark made to his plan during the pandemic.

Sherry's Story

Sherry became physically unwell at the beginning of November 2019.

She began to experience suicidal thoughts and reached out to Lifeline and Beyond Blue, as well as joining online services that provided support.

Living by herself, and unable to get down her front or back stairs without assistance, the 47-year-old says she was already “pretty used to the isolation” when the restrictions caused by COVID-19 came into effect.

Find out more about what Sherry has been doing to cope.

4 tips for reviewing your Beyond Now safety plan during COVID-19

  1. Try to review your plan with a trusted friend, loved one or health professional – they may be able to provide you with additional insights about what works based on their relationship with you.
  2. Be aware that sometimes there won’t be like-for-like substitute activities available. Connecting with people and places (Step 5 of the Beyond Now app) may be the most obviously affected by COVID-19. This is why it’s important to review your whole plan and place greater emphasis on other areas, such as things you can do by yourself (Step 4 of the Beyond Now app). Focus on what you can still do and what you know will be most helpful when you’re struggling.
  3. If you’re stuck on filling out some sections, take a break – start on the sections that seem easiest, and come back to it when you feel calm and relaxed.
  4. If you don’t find the right supports straight away, keep trying until you do – it sometimes can take a while to find people you click with.   

Click here to find out more about the Beyond Now app.

If it feels like things are getting out of control, for immediate support call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

If there is immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, always call triple zero (000).


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