Developing a Crisis Plan

When written in Chinese the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.  

~John F. Kennedy


This is your plan. Develop it when you are feeling well. Take time to make good decisions for your plan; work at it for a while, then leave it for several days and keep coming back to it until you have developed a plan you feel has the best chance of working for you. Collaborate with psychiatrist, therapist, family members and other folks on your support team. Once you have completed your crisis plan, give a copy to the people you name in this plan as your supporters.


Describe symptoms that indicate to your support team that they need to step in and help. Although this may be difficult to do, a careful, well-developed description of symptoms that you know would indicate to you that you can’t make good decisions anymore, you can stay in control even when things seem to be out of control. Allow yourself plenty of time to complete this section. Ask your friends, family members, and other supporters for input, but always remember that the final determination is up to you.

Remember, Crises Are Temporary!

Be very clear and specific in describing each symptom. Don’t just summarize; spell it out. Your list of symptoms might include:

Neglecting personal hygiene (for how many days?)

Not understanding what people are saying

Not knowing who I am

Not knowing/ recognizing family members and friends

Uncontrollable pacing; inability to stay still

Self inflicted violence (degree)

Being abusive, destructive, or violent toward others or property

Abusing alcohol and/or drugs

Not getting out of bed (for how long?)

Refusing to eat or drink

Things to Remember

This is Your Plan

To Develop it When You are Feeling Well

Don’t Rush it

Be Clear and Specific


Share it with Your Support Team

Download and Print a Copy:

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