Are safety plans effective for individuals who have SMI?

Safety plans are exactly that – plans. They focus on what individuals plan to do to keep themselves safe. In advance of a mental health crisis, individuals write down coping strategies and supports that are helpful to them when they feel a sense of self-harm arise. Research shows that safety plans work.

Learn more about common myths around SMI and treatment, including safety plans. See our infographic on this topic.



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  • Bryan CJ, Mintz J, Clemans TA, Leeson B, Burch TS, Williams SR, Maney E, Rudd MD. Effect of crisis response planning vs. contracts for safety on suicide risk in U.S. Army Soldiers: A randomized clinical trial. J Affect Disord. 2017 Apr 1;212:64-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2017.01.028. Epub 2017 Jan 23. PMID: 28142085.
  • Stanley, B., & Brown, G. (2012). Safety Planning Intervention: A brief intervention to mitigate suicide risk. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 19(2), 256–264.
  • Centre for Suicide Prevention,
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