Year: 2022 Source: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. (2022). 53(1), 33-41. SIEC No: 20220608

Safety planning interventions have demonstrated efficacy in reducing suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and death by suicide. Less is known, however, about potential mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of safety plans. The present manuscript provides an overview of the steps involved in safety planning, reviews literature demonstrating its efficacy, and proposes seven potential factors that may explain why safety planning works: providing distraction, increasing connection, promoting autonomy, building competence, reducing engagement in impulsive urges, hindering engagement in suicidal behavior, and reducing cognitive load. By improving our understanding of why safety planning is effective, future work may be able to enhance, or augment, safety planning to further increase its efficacy and, ultimately, to save lives.