Collaborative Safety Planning

Until 2018, there were few studies of safety planning. Craig Bryan’s findings in The Journal of Affective Disorders were promising (“Effect of crisis response planning vs. contracts for safety on suicide risk in U.S. Army Soldiers,” January 2017).

However, in 2018, Health News from NPR highlighted a study by Dr. Barbara Stanley and Dr. Greg Brown, “A Simple Emergency Room Intervention Can Help Cut Suicide Risk.”

Now, a study shows that a simple intervention conducted by staff in emergency departments can reduce the risk of future attempts. The intervention involves creating a safety plan for each patient and following up with phone calls after discharge.

“It reduced the odds of suicidal behavior by half,” says Barbara Stanley, a psychologist at Columbia University and the lead author of the study. “That’s a phenomenal difference.”