Early in my recovery, my support team prepared a Crisis Plan. It was devised to provide structure during times of crisis. At the time, I was still in distress and had impaired cognitive abilities, so the Plan they created was very minimalistic – it gave me what I needed to overcome a crisis, no fuss, no muss. It was also created with no input from me.
As my cognitive abilities were restored, I revisited this Plan, changing its content to include my preferences and changing its name to incorporate a larger purpose. The change in content was necessary as I added the coping tools that worked best for me. These tools themselves evolve as I continue to look for ways to better manage my illness. The change of name reflects the truth that the steps within the Plan are to promote my self-care, and self-care is about more than just crisis management. In this manner, my Self-Care Plan was born.
The Plan itself has changed in other ways. Initially, it operated on its own. Then I added to it a Wellness Toolbox. That Toolbox evolved into my CALMtainers (my recent posts about my CALMtainers can be found here and here). But more importantly, just as my CALMtainers have become more digital, so too has my Self-Care Plan. My phone is always with me and it makes sense that my Self-Care Plan should be too.
The internet has a wealth of templates you can use to create your own crisis plan. Many are Adobe or Word forms so portability can become an issue. For this reason, I looked for an app that would allow me to create a Plan on my smartphone to maximize portability.
To create my Plan on my smartphone I’ll use the BeSafe app. I chose this app because I live in Ontario, Canada and the app can refer me to local resources for crisis help. For more generalized apps you can use MyPlan Light or Safety Plan. If these apps don’t appeal to you, please search on the Play Store for the tool that suits your needs.
The BeSafe app:
- Allows the user to create a digital safety plan (My Safety Plan);
- Informs the user about mental health and addiction resources in your local community (Ontario only);
- Directs users to the best options for their needs though a decision-making aid (Get Help);
- Creates a personal ‘get help script’ that helps users find the words to reach out; and
- Empowers the user to reach out safely.
Follow along as I walk you through the BeSafe app.
When you first open the app you see an introduction
The introduction includes this warning:
If you haven’t already done so, setup data protection on your device. You’ll see why in a moment.
Scroll down the introduction until you reach the bottom where you will see the Get Started button.
Note the grey boxes above the Get Started button. They are for Ontario residents to select their home region to connect with local resources. For me choosing a region didn’t work. I’ll show you a workaround later.
Clicking on Get Started brings you to this screen:
As mentioned above, the app has two components: My Safety Plan and the Get Help script. For the purposes of this post, I’ll only walk you through the creation of a safety plan. So, we choose My Safety Plan, which brings up this dialogue. You can begin to see why data protection is a must.
The first page of the Personal Information database:
The first page of the Medical Information database:
The first page of the Be Safe Plan database:
As you can see, the information added to the app is extremely personal and detailed. Again, be sure to implement data protection on your smartphone if you choose to use the app to its full potential. The more you include, the less you need to scramble to find when you are in a crisis!
Remember that workaround I mentioned, here’s how it works. Let’s return to the main screen (simply close and reopen the app}.
Clicking the 3 bars at the top left corner opens the side menu. We are looking for settings.
Clicking on settings brings us to this dialogue:
Click on Change Region to set your default region in Ontario. This will enable the app to refer you to local resources should you need additional help.
I believe that it’s essential to have a Self-Care Plan. I know having one has certainly helped me. BeSafe, and like apps, give you a way to take your Plan with you wherever you go. I hope you enjoyed this walk through. Please remember that if you choose to use the BeSafe app, be sure to use data protection. Additionally, if BeSafe doesn’t appeal to you, check out the other options available on the Play Store.
(BeSafe is also available for iphones).