Safety Planning Guide: 20+ resources for youth

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Have you ever been in a situation that felt dangerous or unsafe? And have you ever found yourself wondering what to do in those moments? Kids Help Phone’s Safety Planning Guide has free information, tips and tools you can use to navigate unsafe situations. On this page, you can explore ways to create or access safer spaces, take care of yourself and get support. You can also learn how to make your own safety plan(s) and become more familiar with your options in moments of potential danger. No matter what, your safety is a priority and your well-being matters.

If you’re in immediate danger, emergency services and child protection services are available across Canada. Mobile crisis support and other community services are also available in some areas. You can use Resources Around Me to find what’s best for you and available nearest your location.

Reminder: You deserve to feel safe. You’re not alone.

What do we mean by “safety?”

It may be hard to imagine what safety feels like if you’ve been feeling unsafe. Safety can also look and feel different for everyone. As you continue to scroll through this page, you may find it helpful to consider what safety means to you. What does it feel like / how do you hope it may feel? And how can you take big or small actions toward achieving that feeling(s)? If you’re having difficulty imagining this, you can ask yourself the following questions (it may be helpful to write your responses down):

  • When was the last time I felt safer?
  • What were the signs of safety to me then? Where was I? Who was there? How did I feel?
  • What does safety mean to me? Is it a feeling in my body? A place / person / state of mind / gesture?
  • How does safety feel in my mind and body (e.g. I feel calm, my muscles are relaxed, etc.)?
  • What would be the smallest change I could make that may help me get closer to a feeling of safety again?

Sometimes, being around a potentially dangerous person or environment might be inevitable (hard to avoid), but there may be ways you could make the experience safer for yourself. This may mean considering ways to feel temporarily safer for the moment, rather than trying to achieve long-term safety, which may be more difficult and require more help. Your immediate safety is most important, so any small action you can take to prioritize your safety in the moment may be a helpful place to start.

“You are valid. Your sadness is valid. Your happiness is valid. Don’t let others decide how valid you are. Don’t let anyone else control what’s yours.”

— person contacting Kids Help Phone

What is a safety plan?

Safety plans are tools you can use to map out what might help in situations where you feel unsafe or where harm may occur. This could mean circumstances where potential harm to yourself, harm by others, harm to others, etc. may happen. A safety plan can include reminders of what helps you the most when you’re feeling unsafe, how you can create space from people / things / places you don’t feel safe around as well as people / resources / services you can connect with if you need support.

You don’t have to carry your feelings on your own. There’s always a space to let them out.

What are some things to consider when safety planning?

Before creating a safety plan, it may help to consider what information you may want / need to include in your plan. You can start by reviewing the questions below (you don’t need answers to all of them). Based on your situation, you can identify what information may be most helpful for you to become familiar with as you plan for your safety. If you’re not sure what the most important information for you to include in your plan is, you can check out Kids Help Phone’s safety plan tools below or ask someone you trust for help.

  • Where can I keep my safety plan so it’s as easy to find and private as possible?
  • When / where might I need to use my safety plan?
  • When was the last time I felt “safe” or “safer?” What helped me feel that way?
  • What are some signs that tell me things may be getting unsafe?
  • What are my go-to coping strategies to manage difficult thoughts / feelings / behaviours?
  • Who do I trust to talk to about what I’m going through?
  • Who can I connect with when I need support, and how can I contact them?
  • Where are some potentially safer places I can go when I don’t feel safe where I am? How can I get there? What might I need to bring with me?
  • What do I hope / dream about for my life in the future?
  • What are the emergency / community services nearest my area? How can I contact them when I need support?

To search programs and services across Canada, you can visit

Resources Around Me. Resources Around Me.

Tip: When searching for emergency / community services that may be available nearest your area, you may also wish to research the terms of each service to learn more about what may happen if you access their support, who else could get involved (e.g. child protection services, etc.), their privacy policy, who you may have the right to be present with you (e.g. a First Nations band representative, a specific health-care professional / police officer (if available), etc.) and more.

How can I create my own safety plan(s)?

Are you ready to create your own safety plan(s)? You can tap through Kids Help Phone’s safety planning tools, tips and downloadable resources below (if they make sense for you and your situation).

At this point, we want to acknowledge there are other times, beyond those mentioned on this page or within these tools, in which you may feel unsafe. If you’re worried about your safety, for any reason, you can connect for free, 24/7, confidential support at Kids Help Phone.

How can I get more support with safety planning?

Feeling unsafe and not knowing what to do can feel overwhelming, confusing and even a little scary. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own, though. In the section below, you can tap on resources to get more information about contacting Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors and trained, volunteer crisis responders for support with safety planning or anything else on your mind. You’ll also find resources to learn more about topics that may help you with safety planning, ways to connect with your peers and more.

How to identify a safe adult
10 places to go if you don’t feel safe at home
How can I talk to a parent/caregiver about something?
How to map out your community of support
Online dating: Safety tips
How to take care of yourself when using substances
What is abuse in relationships? 50+ signs.
Family abuse: What it is and how to identify it
Sexual abuse: How to get help and heal
Eating disorders: Tips for recovery
Cyberbullying: How to stay safe
Self-injury: What it is and how to cope

Where can I learn more about safety planning?

You can find more tips and tools for safety planning from these organizations across Canada:

Whether you’re navigating a harmful situation, planning ahead just in case and / or supporting someone you care about, safety planning can bring up many emotions. No matter what you’re experiencing, you deserve to feel safe and thrive in your world. And you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Safety planning is an ongoing process and Kids Help Phone’s e-mental health services are available 24/7 to support you along your journey. No challenge is too big, and no feeling is too small.