There may come a time when you find yourself in crisis or emotional distress. In this situation, you might feel out of control and others (family, friends or health professionals) might need to take responsibility for your care.

If you are worried about your mental health, or you have experienced problems in the past, it can be helpful to write a plan that sets down your wishes for care, support and recovery. By doing so, you will be more prepared for any set-backs in the future and more in control of your mental health.

Planning together

It can also be helpful to make the plan with a family member or loved one – perhaps the person who will support you when things don’t go well. Even if you don’t make the plan together, it is important to share the plan with people you trust to support you during difficulties. Keep a copy of the plan safe and close by for yourself as well. It’s not easy to write a plan for crisis situations, and it’s good to revise the plan regularly to take into account your most recent needs.

Helpful things to include in the plan

  • Notes on what you are like when you are feeling well. (E.g. calm, happy, quiet, cheerful, shy, etc.)

  • Notes on how others can recognise when you need their support. (E.g. neglecting personal hygiene or house work, agitated, avoiding people, unable to get out of bed.)

  • Who you want to be contacted when you need support. (E.g. your G.P., friends and family members.)

  • Who you don't want involved in your care.

  • Contact details of your G.P. and mental health team.

  • Contact details for Out of Hours and Emergency services in your area.

  • Health insurance and/ or medical care details.

  • Whether you are happy for family or friends to be involved in your care plan.

  • Information on any medicine you take or current treatment.

  • Acceptable and unacceptable care and hospital options.

  • Things others can do to help you. (E.g. listening, childcare, paying bills, taking you to the G.P.)

  • Things others do that are not helpful. (E.g. ignoring you, getting angry.)

  • Notes on how others can recognise when you no longer need this plan. (E.g. return to work, cooking, sleeping through the night.)

Content provided by Shine and adapted for YourMentalHealth.ie by the National Office for Suicide Prevention. Find out more about our content partnerships