Crisis services

A guide explaining what mental health crisis services are available, how they can help and when to access them. Also provides guidance on how you can plan for a crisis.

Your stories

In crisis: my experience

In time for the release of the CQC's Mental Health Act report,Claire blogs about her experience of crisis care

Posted on 28/01/2014

How going to A&E helped me

Caroline blogs about how a visit to A&E helped her to realise she needed help.

Posted on 27/11/2013

What is a CRHT team?

A crisis resolution and home treatment (CRHT) team is a team of mental health professionals who can support you at your home during a mental health crisis. It usually includes a number of mental health professionals, such as a psychiatrist, mental health nurses, social workers and support workers.

Many CRHT teams are often referred to as the crisis team for short, although you might find your local crisis service is called something different.

How can a CRHT team help me?

Your CRHT team can:

  • decide if you should be admitted to hospital
  • offer you alternative support to treatment in hospital
  • offer you home support to help you to leave hospital more quickly

If you don’t want to go into hospital, or a hospital place isn't available right away, the CRHT team can:

  • assess your needs
  • manage the risks of you being at home
  • assist with self-help strategies
  • visit you frequently
  • offer psychological and practical help
  • administer medication
  • help you learn from your experience, so you can consider how to prevent or manage a crisis in future

You might find that CRHT support can help you manage a crisis at home with friends and family. This may be a preferable option, as research has shown much higher satisfaction rates for CRHT treatment than for hospital inpatient wards.

[My] crisis team have been with me on three separate occasions for two months at a time, sometimes visiting twice a day to keep me out of hospital.

When should I use this service?

When you need urgent support, and you are already in contact with your local mental health services. Your local CRHT team could also give you ongoing support after accessing emergency support during a mental health crisis.

I had a crisis at the GP surgery [...] so I saw the crisis team right quick (within four hours!). Needless to say in these circumstances the crisis service was comparatively brilliant.

How do I access a CRHT team?

There are different ways you can access your local CRHT team, depending on your situation and how your local team works.

  • Direct contact. Some CRHT teams will let you contact them directly. You can find this information on your local mental health service's website.
  • Referral. Many CRHT teams can only support people who have been referred to them by another health care professional. For example, you might be referred to a crisis team after visiting A&E or your GP.
  • Care plan. If you are currently being supported by a community mental health team (CMHT), they should give you details in your care plan about who to contact in a crisis; this is often your local CRHT team.

Your CRHT team should be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, although depending on your local service you might not always be able to get in contact with someone immediately.

[My crisis team] were very supportive but the biggest issue was continuity and staffing. [In my case] there was a lot of 'we will see you tomorrow' and then they would change times at short notice or not come at all.

What can I do if I'm unhappy with my CRHT team?

When you're experiencing a crisis, it can be hard to manage feelings of disappointment and frustration if the help you want just isn't there. Unfortunately, many mental health services are stretched, and can struggle to help everyone in the way they might want.

[My crisis team] visited me every 1–2 days, which was good. However seeing a different person each time was very unhelpful.

But even in this situation there are still things you can do:

This information was published in September 2015. We will revise it in 2018.

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