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Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s Weekly Wellbeing!


This week I’m chiming in to share some of my lived experience with you and to help you make sense of a sometimes confusing mental health tool – support plans.


What is a support plan?


If you haven’t heard of them before or you don’t know what they are, a support plan (sometimes called a safety plan) is any document that records what your plan is if your mental health starts going a bit haywire. As someone who lives with a chronic mental illness like OCD, this is a tool that I use to plan for future relapses so that I know exactly what steps I need to take when things start feeling a bit out of control. However, I think support plans can work well for anyone, because we all have mental health, and we all have times where we feel less than wonderful. Support plans are all about mapping out your own mental health needs and trying to find solutions to common challenges you face ahead of time. 


men in black plan GIF by Men In Black: International


How do I make one?


Q: What exactly is in a support plan?


A: Whatever you like!


A support plan is all about what works for you. It can contain any information that you think might be useful to you or the people in your life when you’re not feeling great, and you can structure it in any way that makes sense to you. Here's some of the things I've chosen to include in my own support plan, and what support looks like for me:



Warning Signs

What are some of the signs that I'm starting to feel burnt out, stressed, anxious, or depressed?

  • Isolating and withdrawing from family and friends
  • Becoming less talkative 
  • Heightened OCD symptoms
  • Feeling angry 


What are the negative outcomes I am trying to avoid? What are the risks associated with my mental health going downhill?

  • My OCD becoming out of control and really distressing
  • Becoming depressed and struggling to do normal day-to-day activities
  • Having panic attacks

Support Network

Who can I lean on when times get tough? What specifically do I need from each person?

  • My Mum and Dad - they can call and text me more regularly just to check in 
  • My sister and my partner - they can offer me with a distraction and stress relief, as well as keeping an eye on my mood and warning signs because I see them every day 
  • My Aunt - she has lived experience with mental health problems, so she can give me a call and chat when I'm feeling low
  • My psychologist - he can offer me with psychological support 
  • My GP - he can help me stay on top of my medication and offer an overall check-in

Practical Tools

What day-to-day strategies can I put in place to keep myself safe and well?

  • Naps - when I'm anxious or my OCD is bad, I need more rest during the day 
  • Find audiobooks or podcasts to listen to when I'm commuting or doing boring tasks so that my mind doesn't wander too much
  • Play games on my phone when I need a distraction or feel a panic attack coming on 
  • Meditate each morning
  • Practice gratitude at the end of each day

Immediate Next Steps

If things start to feel overwhelming, what next steps do I need to take in the next 24-48 hours to help myself?

  • Contact work and get some time off
  • Schedule an appointment with my GP in the next few days
  • Schedule an appointment with my psychologist as soon as possible
  • Go stay with my parents in my hometown for a while (if needed)
  • Let my family and partner know what is going on 



What do I do with a support plan?


Okay, so you've brainstormed some ideas, come up with some strategies, and have written them all down. What now?


Personally, I keep my support plan close by so that I can use it anytime I need to without having to search my entire house trying to remember where it is. I have a Word document version of it that I keep saved on my laptop, and I have a few copies printed out in a binder in my desk.


For some people, a support plan is intensely personal, so they prefer not to share it with anyone and simply have it for their own reference. That's totally okay! You are your own biggest resource when it comes to looking after your wellbeing. For me, I decided to give a copy of my support plan to my parents, because they are a huge help when I’m struggling with my mental health. I also gave one to my sister because we live together and she sees me everyday, so she's a pretty good judge of when my warning signs are rearing their ugly heads.




When should I make a support plan?


There's no right or wrong time to make a support plan, but believe it or not, I made my support plan on a really normal day when I was feeling pretty tip top. Why?


A support plan kind of reminds me of a recipe. If you brainstorm the ingredients you’ll need and write down all the steps for baking a cake before you step into the kitchen, it’s likely that you’ll feel a lot more organised and ten times less stressed when it comes time to put your apron on. Alternatively, imagine if you tried to start writing out a cake recipe when you’re already halfway through mixing the eggs and the flour, and you think you might have forgotten a step but you can’t think straight because the butter is exploding in the microwave and the oven is smoking for some reason and all of a sudden the kitchen is on fire.




When I’m not feeling my best, the last thing I can manage is to think of everything I need to put into place to make me feel better. If I’m depressed, I’m convinced nothing will help, and if I’m anxious or obsessing, I probably can’t even focus for long enough to think of anything productive. By thinking about the things that work ahead of time, I have the freedom and headspace to think about things that have worked for me in the past and I can write them down to remind myself that I know exactly how to get through a tough time.  


What about you? Have you ever made a support plan?


What kind of things would you include in your support plan if you had one?

Love this @Portia_RO❤️ Also thank you for being so open about your struggles with ocd on the forums- I also have ocd and it's cool to be able to see all the things you've acomplished because I think maybe I can accomplish stuff too (idk if that makes sense??).


Have I ever made a support plan? Yeah sooo many, I don't have an updated one at the moment, maybe I should make one 🤔 Once I made a little booklet that said 'DON'T PANIC' like from hitchhikers guide to the galaxy 🤣


What would I include in a support plan if I had one... Well for an updated one I might have to change who I can reach out to and what kinds of symptoms I'm noticing.

year getting GIF


@Lost_Space_Explorer5 I love your "Don't Panic" booklet- I'm a big fan of hitchikers, it made me laugh think about that on the cover of a support plan! Let us know how you go with updating your support plan :💜 




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I am very confused by where the dolphin gif comes in, perhaps because I haven't really read hitchhiker's guide, I've only seen film and TV adaptations 😂 @Janine-RO I want to read it, I don't have the best track record with finishing books though- actually it looks like it's a series. I think I read like the first chapter of the first book, once 😭