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Launch of free 'Staying Safe' training package

10 October 2019

From 4 Mental Health:

World Mental Health Day on 10 October sees the launch of a new free training package, designed to help people make personal Safety Plans.

‘Staying Safe’ training has been developed by 4 Mental Health and co-funded by NHS England, to support the free resources on the Staying Safe website. It is designed to be used in a wide range of settings and roles, including the NHS and social care, first responders, third sector organisations, carers, peer support groups, community groups, schools and universities.

The training equips participants with the skills and confidence both to make their own Safety Plan and to encourage and support others to do the same.

Anyone struggling to cope with a situation or experiencing deep distress might begin to think about harming themselves or consider suicide as a means to escape their emotional pain. At such times it can be incredibly difficult to think clearly. The idea behind safety planning is to prepare for the difficult times and make a plan of what can be done to get through such times, even before they happen.

A Safety Plan can be thought of as the emotional health equivalent of putting on a car seat belt. It’s a planned set of actions, strategies and sources of support that a person keeps with them and can use to help them stay safer when experiencing distress and before they reach a crisis point.

Safety Plans are highly personal to each individual and typically includes:

  • Distractions and things to lift their mood
  • Practical ways they can make their situation safer
  • Who to contact for emotional or practical support
  • Where to go or who to contact in an emergency

When developing Staying Safe training, 4 Mental Health teamed up with an expert reference group of internationally recognised experts, mental health practitioners and educationalists, together with individuals and families with lived experience of suicide and suicidal thoughts. Professor Siobhan O’Neil, co-organiser of the 2019 International Congress on Suicide Prevention provided an additional level of scrutiny:

“It’s vital to disseminate best practice and the Staying Safe training will share latest thinking in how people can make potentially life-saving Safety Plans.”

This training has a robust safety protocol and detailed step-by-step guidance notes. This free resource supports learning in groups and organisations who want access to quality assured training but have no or limited funds available.

“It is critical that individuals and their carers, whether professional or non-professional, are aware of what is needed to be done in time of crisis. Safety plans are indeed such a positive way forward to keep individuals safe.” Professor Dinesh Bhugra CBE, former President of the World Psychiatric Association and one of the experts who helped with Staying Safe training.

At 4 Mental Health our hope is that one day making a personal Safety Plan will be regarded as a routine part of wellbeing and self-care, and as commonplace as having a first aid kit. The Staying Safe Safety Plan works because it brings the person into the plan. "

It encourages people to reflect on who they are and what is important to them. It gets to the heart of what keeps them alive and safe.” Moira Tombs, an Expert by Experience who helped with Staying Safe training.

The materials for this training can be downloaded via the following link.