Abuse Alternatives, Inc.

Safety Plan

What Is Safety Planning?

It’s a brief written list of coping strategies and sources of support.
No doubt you can drive from your home to your school without even thinking twice.  But what if you have to make that same trip in heavy fog, or through a blizzard?  Even though it’s a route that you are very familiar with, if your vision is impaired it’s harder to navigate your way. You might use GPS, read street signs, look for landmarks, and watch lane markings on the road.
A Safety Plan is like a roadmap for your life. Just like a map can help you find your way when you are going somewhere, a Safety Plan can point you in the right direction when you become lost or overwhelmed with problems or emotions.
When might you need a Safety Plan? The steps for creating a Safety Plan can actually be used in many different situations:
  • If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself.
  • If you are worried about someone hurting you.
  • If you are experiencing emotional pain.
Although a Safety Plan is typically meant to keep you physically safe, it can help with your emotional wellness.  Each of the items listed below are included on the Creating a Safety Plan worksheet​, and can help you to be emotionally healthy throughout your life.

Triggers/Warning Signs:

What causes you to feel emotional pain? How can you tell when those feelings are starting to become a problem?

Coping Skills/Distractions:

How can you work through your problems?  What can you do to take your mind off of the things that are bothering you?

Social Settings:

Where can you go to avoid being alone? What social settings can provide you with an outlet or means of temporary escape?

Supportive People:

What friends, family, or others do you trust to ask for help?


Who would you contact during a real crisis or an emergency?

Safe Environments:

Where is your safe space? What do you need to avoid or remove to keep it a safe space for you?

Reasons for Living:

What motivates you to keep going? Who or what do you care about most?

To create a workable plan, be sure to complete it before a problem or crisis occurs. You may also find that your answers change over time, so review and update it regularly. Take some time today to think about what will work best to keep you safe and emotionally healthy in the future.

24/7 Crisis Hotline: 423-764-2287 or 800-987-6499 TTY/Hearing Impaired: 423-652-9750
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