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Safe Medication Storage and Safety Plan Directives

In the journey toward mental wellness, the partnership between patients and their healthcare providers is crucial, especially when it comes to managing medications. At Innerspace Counseling, we understand the delicate balance required in treating mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, mood disorders and other mental health issues. This blog aims to shed light on the significance of safe medication storage and adhering to safety plan directives, particularly when treatment providers suggest that someone hold and administer medications for a patient.

Understanding the Need for Safe Medication Storage

Medications, whether prescribed for mental illness or physical ailments, are powerful tools that must be handled with care. Safe storage of medications serves multiple purposes: it prevents accidental ingestion, reduces the risk of misuse, and ensures the efficacy of the medication when it is taken as prescribed.

For perinatal individuals, children, adolescents, and adults, the temptation or curiosity to explore medication cabinets can lead to dangerous outcomes. Innerspace Counseling emphasizes the importance of keeping all medications in a secure location, out of reach of anyone for whom they are not prescribed.

Moreover, for individuals experiencing mental health disorders, especially those with suicidal thoughts or severe depression, access to medications must be meticulously controlled. The Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) at Innerspace Counseling incorporate Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques not only to address the root of mental health problems but also to instill coping skills that help manage the urge to misuse medications.

The Role of Safety Plan Directives

Safety plan directives are a cornerstone in the treatment of mental health issues. These plans are tailored to each individual's needs, focusing on reducing risks and promoting safety within the therapeutic environment and beyond. When treatment providers at Innerspace Counseling, including therapists and psychiatrists, recommend that someone hold and administer medications for a patient, it is a strategic move designed to safeguard the patient's health.

This approach is particularly relevant for patients who may struggle with impulsivity, cognitive challenges, or those at risk for overdose. By having a trusted friend or family member take on the responsibility of medication management, it ensures that the patient receives the correct dosage at the right times, reducing the potential for accidental or intentional harm.

Implementing Effective Medication Management Strategies

Effective medication management is a collaborative effort that requires clear communication and cooperation between the patient, their support network, and their mental health care team. At Innerspace Counseling, we recommend the following strategies to enhance medication safety:

1. Secure Storage: Medications should be kept in a locked cabinet or box. Only the individual designated to administer the medication should have access to the keys or combination.

2. Clear Labeling: All medication containers should be clearly labeled with the patient's name, the medication name, dosage instructions, and the prescribing psychiatrist's contact information. This reduces confusion and ensures that each patient is taking medication as intended for their treatment plan.

3. Routine Check-ins: Regular appointments with mental health care providers allow for the assessment of the medication's effectiveness and the opportunity to adjust the treatment plan as necessary. These check-ins also provide a space to discuss any concerns about medication management or mental health issues.

4. Education: Both the patient and the person administering the medication should be educated about the purpose of each medication, its potential side effects, and what to do in case of an emergency. Understanding the importance of each aspect of the treatment plan, including DBT and CBT techniques, enhances adherence and promotes a sense of agency in the patient's recovery process.

5. Support System Involvement: Involving friends or family in the treatment process fosters a supportive environment that can significantly impact the patient's progress. It's crucial that this support system is educated about mental health disorders and the critical role they play in the patient's journey to wellness.

Navigating Challenges

While having someone hold and administer medications can be a life-saving measure, it's important to acknowledge the challenges that may arise. These can include feelings of dependency or loss of autonomy on the part of the patient. In these instances, therapeutic interventions, such as DBT and CBT, are invaluable in addressing these thoughts and feelings, reinforcing coping skills, and gradually moving toward greater independence in medication management.


At Innerspace Counseling, we recognize that managing mental health disorders involves more than just attending therapy sessions or taking medication. It requires a comprehensive approach that includes safe medication storage, adherence to safety plan directives, guidance from mental health professionals and the involvement of a supportive network of friends or family. To support this we utilize group therapy, individual sessions, medication management and family sessions. Through our IOP and PHP, we are committed to providing the tools and support necessary for perinatal individuals, children, adolescents, and adults to navigate their mental health care journey safely and effectively.

Ensuring the safety of medication practices is paramount in the treatment of mental health problems. By following structured safety plans and engaging in open dialogue with healthcare providers, patients, and their support systems, we can create a safe and supportive environment conducive to healing and growth. Remember, the path to mental wellness is a collaborative effort, and at Innerspace Counseling, we are here to guide you every step of the way.