About The Crisis Response Plan

What is the Crisis Response Plan (CRP)?

 The Crisis Response Plan (CRP) is a brief procedure used to reduce an individual's risk for suicidal behavior. The CRP is created collaboratively between a suicidal individual and a trained individual, and is typically handwritten on an index card for easy, convenient access during times of need. The CRP serves as a checklist to follow during periods of intense emotional distress. At its core, the CRP helps someone remember what to do when they feel emotionally overwhelmed. The CRP is comprised of five key sections:

  1. Personal warning signs: personal indicators of an emerging emotional crisis.
  2. Self-management strategies: simple strategies that can be used to help reduce stress or serve as a distraction. 
  3. Reasons for living: things that provide a sense of purpose or meaning in life.
  4. Social support: people who provide support or elevate one's mood during tough times (e.g., friends, family members).
  5. Professional crisis support: contact information for health care providers, crisis hotlines, and emergency services.

The CRP usually takes less than 30 minutes to create. An important part of the CRP is helping individuals to successfully cope with intense levels of distress when faced with problems that seem unsolvable and/or never-ending.

How was the CRP developed?

The CRP was initially developed by M. David Rudd, PhD., in the mid-1990's as a part of his outpatient treatment approach to working with suicidal individuals. The technique has since been refined and improved based on scientific studies and feedback from patients and clinicians. The CRP--and other similar procedures based on this method (e.g., the safety planning intervention)--have served as a core component for several treatment protocols found to be effective for reducing the risk of suicidal behaviors.  

The CRP is only one of a handful of interventions scientifically proven to reduce suicidal behaviors. Because of its brevity and simplicity, it is considered one of the most flexible and transportable interventions available for suicide prevention.    

Who should learn the CRP?

Anyone who has regular contact with individuals in distress, or might have contact with such individuals:

  • Mental health clinicians
  • Primary care providers
  • Emergency department staff
  • First responders
  • Teachers
  • College resident hall advisors
  • Peer specialists

Learn More

Watch this brief video to obtain a brief overview of the Crisis Response Plan. 


Additional videos, including demonstration videos, can be found on the National Center for Veterans Studies YouTube channel.