United Front: System Safety Plan Course
Course Materials: Getting Set Up
Suggested Materials List
- United Front Ship’s Log planner (entirely optional) or the Safety Plan Booklet listed below
- otherwise blank or lined paper for brainstorming and creating list & scrap paper
- pencils or (erasable?) pens (alternatively crayons or markers for brainstorming on big paper), erasers, etc.
- System Safety Plan – Booklet (v0.7 – PDF, print-quality) or the same thing in no frills version System Safety Plan – plaintext Booklet (plaintext/txt file) (German Translation (RTF) thanks to Incanthatus) or a mildly formatted Google Doc you can export or copy to your own Google Docs.
- December 2020 sample version of United Front: Recruits that includes first-draft instructions for creating system safety plans (this website is the latest version of those instructions).
- Action Planning for Prevention & Recovery – the US Government pamphlet that this course is based on.
Please don’t judge yourselves as y’all do the exercises. If y’all have to bail as y’all get to the trigger questions, self-harm and crisis questions, it’s totally understandable. Y’all may need to work on some of these exercises with your support team, close friends, or in a supportive group environment. It may help to have folk to talk to or help y’all stay grounded if y’all find some of the exercises difficult or destabilizing. This is one of the reasons why y’all should work on these exercises when y’all are doing fairly well.
New: Anti-perfectionism note. This course & the plan is not meant to be completed in one sitting, but neither are each lesson. It’s best to go through the course and make progress on each section of your plan rather than trying to complete each section of the plan thoroughly. “Progress is perfect.” So a quicker run through the plan and jotting down some ideas in each section is better than getting stalled laboriously trying to make exhaustive lists for each section. We’ll cover that in the System Safety Plan Speed Run in the next lesson.
Also, this is an experiment for your& system. Experimenting with what works for y’all. Noticing what works. Allowing yourselves to tweak ideas, remove ideas, add ideas. Using pencil or erasable pens is a good idea — this plan will change as your& needs change. Found a new headmate with different needs? Something y’all thought might help triggering a traumaholder? Changing this is OK. It’s 100% yours. You get to modify it, change it, toss ideas out, find new ideas, and it will never be “wrong” — something just didn’t work well, and you get to change or adjust your plan accordingly.
Keep these lists in a safe place. Your& answers should always be private unless y’all choose to share them. You may not want to answer these questions on paper or in a journal or planner — if so, do them in a password-protected application on your phone or in a document in an anonymous online account only y’all know about, etc. Your safety is the priority, here. And as great as it may be to have all the answers in one place and easily accessible, there may be information in these plans that could be used to manipulate and harm your& system. Keep your answers safe from prying if needed.
If you wish to create a crisis plan later, you’ll either type up relevant sections or portions of your work, or make a neat copy that can be scanned to give to potential crisis caregivers.
System Safety Plan Notes & Credits
Our information is based on the U.S. DHHS, SAMHSA, & CMHS publication SMA-3720 Action Planning for Prevention and Recovery (“APPR”)— a pamphlet (linked above) that is available for free and the information is in the public domain (uncopyrighted) for use without limitation. The link for this document is included above.
If y’all are referring to the government pamphlet instructions, their sections (bold) apply to the following sections in the United Front materials (italicized), and notes on the use of a couple sections with the United Front Ships Log Planner or our downloadable pamphlet (above):
Key: APPR (Action Planning for Prevention & Recovery) | United Front course materials (planner notes)
Developing a Wellness Toolkit | Crew Equipment Review (this can be done on scrap paper and what’s left when you’re done can be reserved or listed on Crew Equipment Review.)
Daily Maintenance Plan: Feeling Well | Safe Water Mark
Daily Maintenance Plan: Dreams & Goals | Your& Ship’s Missions (and Quarterly Review for planning when you’ll take care of the routine stuff throughout the year)
Daily Maintenance Plan: Daily List | Staying in Ship Shape — Daily Planning
Daily Maintenance Plan: Reminder List | Checking for Barnacles (with the planner, these reminders are distributed through various sections of the planner or put on sticky notes to be mobile through the planner as the year goes on)
Triggers | Foul Waters
Early Warning Signs | Navigating Dangers
When Things Are Breaking Down or Getting Worse | Batten the Hatches
Resources we used or may have used in the creating of this course include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- APPR Guide Download — the US government public domain safety plan document linked above (by the same person who created the trademarked plan at the Copeland institute that shall remain unnamed).
- the New York State peer specialist certification training in creating safety plans from the Academy of Peer Services (http://academyofpeerservices.org).
- the MHEP (Mental Health Empowerment Project) (http://mhepinc.org) peer specialist study program live training we took that covered same
- our experience putting our safety plan together (which we are expected to use as a peer specialist while working with our peers to help inspire them on their own safety plans, and is an “eat your own dogfood” concept that we like).
- Our experiences with our own plurality and countless plurals (thousands of bodies) we have worked with on selves help and community support since 1986.
- our own selves-help work since about 1991, including our fairly decent personal library of self-help, selves-help, self-improvement, psychology, philosophy, and other related books and materials.
- our life coach training (we are a life coach in addition to getting our provisional peer support specialist certification), ministerial training (we are an interfaith minister since 1997) and all our experiences coaching plurals in small group and 1:1 settings as well as presenting, writing, etc. specifically for the plural community.
- a near-miss on a psychology degree — we dropped out but have continued to study psychology outside the academic setting, because like many plurals basically our lives are at stake and there’s too much therapy abuse and incompetence, and they (as an industry, not individuals) don’t know their ass from their elbow. So we (all plurals, I’m afraid) need to be armed with knowledge.
- 10 years (2010-2020) of being on a nonprofit board of a peer-run cross-disability non profit including (continuing past board membership) statewide advocacy…fighting for access, inclusion, better outcomes, funding, rights, etc.