SafeSide Care Framework
A systematic approach to care and communication around suicide prevention
SafeSide CARE Framework
Connect - Assess - Respond - Extend
The CARE Framework will organize your thinking and communication with colleagues and the people you serve. It will help you document your actions and decisions.
It’s an evidence-informed, patient-centered, and practical framework that goes beyond merely keeping clients safe to support full recovery of a life worth living.
"Any problem becomes more manageable if you have a framework for addressing it."Tony Pisani, Ph.D.
Lack of connection to others was one of the first problems identified by early observers of suicide, and contemporary research bears that out. Promoting connection to professional helpers is a critical component of almost every effective psychosocial intervention.
In the Care Framework, Connect is the foundation for all the work we do with a person at risk of suicide. Connect means asking directly about suicide, collaborating around safety and recovery, and committing to stick with the person on behalf of yourself and your team.
There’s more to an assessment than running through a series of questions about suicide that showed predictive validity in a research study. Research-based scales can help, but the usefulness of your assessment will depend on how you ask questions and then synthesize that information with a broader array of information.
Assess includes developing a prevention-oriented risk formulation that links naturally to actions you can take. The purpose is not prediction, it's planning.
Once you’ve gathered and summarized assessment information, you need to organize how to best respond. The framework provides four crystal clear categories that let you know you’re giving your best.
Using or referring for suicide-specific treatment and using “mini- interventions” based on in-depth, evidence-based therapies
Creating contingency and safety plans, including plans to reduce access to lethal means
If indicated, increasing contact and/or observation frequency in the least restrictive environment possible
Consulting with your team and making referrals for unmet needs.
We want to think beyond enrollment or an episode of care, and beyond the individual to their network of family, friends, and other supports. The idea is to extend the impact of our plans into a person’s daily life and network, in these four areas:
- Making non-demand caring contacts by letters, email, and text messages
- Sharing our plans with and clear roles for family, other supports and providers
- Proactively reaching out with structured follow-up assessments and support
- Making warm handoffs for needed services