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Crisis services and planning for a crisis

This guide explains what mental health crisis services are available, how they can help and when to access them. It also explains how you can plan for a crisis. If you're feeling in crisis right now, see our emergency advice.

When should I use a crisis house?

As an alternative to going into hospital, for example if you don't feel safe at home overnight, or things at home are contributing to you being in crisis.

How could it help me?

Crisis houses can vary and offer slightly different services. However, they usually offer:

  • overnight accommodation
  • a small number of beds
  • a home-like environment
  • intensive treatment.

Crisis house, sanctuary or safe haven?

Services with these names can be very similar. The main difference is that crisis houses usually offer overnight accommodation with a bed for you to sleep in.

Services described as sanctuaries or safe havens usually don't provide somewhere to sleep or live in. But they might be open overnight as a supportive place for you to go during a crisis.

How can I access it?

Crisis houses might be run by the NHS, independent organisations such as charities, or both of these together – so they're often free to use. If you find a private crisis house you want to access, it's best to check if there are any costs involved.

To use a crisis house, you'll usually need to be referred by a mental health professional, although some let you refer yourself. The staff will also need to assess you, to make sure it's the right place to help you.

When assessing you, they might consider:

  • the length of stay you'll need
  • the type of mental health crisis you're experiencing
  • your willingness to keep to their house rules (such as rules about drug use or how you behave towards other residents)
  • your background – some crisis houses are set up to help specific groups (such as women or people who are also struggling with drug addiction).

"Crisis house support [was] relatively helpful, and was there 24/7. Unfortunately [where I went] you can only stop 14 days."

Is there a crisis house or sanctuary near me?

We've listed some details of crisis houses and sanctuaries. Unfortunately there are a very limited number around England and Wales, and there might not be one near you – but this isn't an exhaustive list and you may be able to find others we haven't included.

  • Mind doesn't endorse any particular crisis house or sanctuary, including those listed on this page. We have no knowledge of their services or performance.
  • It's up to you to decide if the crisis house or sanctuary you're considering is appropriate for you, and whether you're comfortable with their rules, approach and treatments.

Multiple locations


  • Bristol Men's Crisis House – residential crisis house, for men only. You can be referred by a healthcare professional, or you can self-refer by calling 0117 934 9848.
  • Bristol Sanctuary – non-residential service open from 6pm–12.30am on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. To find out more, you can call them on 0117 9542952, text 07709 295 661 or email [email protected].
  • Women's Crisis House (Link House) – residential crisis house, for women only. A health care professional can refer you to this service, or you might be able to refer yourself. To find out more you can call them on 0117 925 1811 from 8am–6pm or email [email protected].

Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan

  • Linden House – based in Cardiff and open to residents of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Offers a therapeutic alternative to hospital for people who are experiencing distress or crisis. Referalls can only be made through the Cardiff and the Vale Crisis Team

Hastings, Sussex

  • Hastings Sanctuary Service – sanctuary run by the charity Turning Point. This service is for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis, and they accept people with drug or alcohol problems. Your crisis team must refer you to this service.


  • Dial House – non-residential service, open from 6pm–2am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To refer yourself, call 0113 260 9328 on the night you wish to request a visit or text 07922 249 452. You can also email [email protected].



  • Manchester Crisis Point – short-term residential mental health service for people suffering mental distress aged 18 and over and living in Manchester. Contact the service on 0161 238 5149 for more information.


  • The Warren and The Martins - NHS crisis houses in Northampton and Rushden, providing a safe environment for adults in a mental health crisis. You can only access this service by referral from a healthcare professional. 

This information was published in October 2018.

This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published. 

References and bibliography available on request.

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