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A safety plan is a hierarchically arranged list of strategies that the patient agrees to employ in the event of a suicidal crisis. The development of a safety plan is considered one of the most critical parts of the assessment and treatment of suicidal youth and involves collaboration among the clinician, patient, and family. On an outpatient basis, the safety plan is implemented once it is determined that the patient is safe to maintain as an outpatient; in fact, the safety plan may be used to help determine appropriate level of care (i.e., the inability to collaborate on a safety plan may be indicative of need for a higher level of care). However, care should be taken to avoid the use of coercion when negotiating the safety plan so as not to mask the adolescent's suicidal risk.

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