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 are crisis houses?

Crisis houses offer intensive, short-term support so that you can manage and resolve your crisis in a residential setting (rather than hospital).

How could a crisis house help me?

A crisis house might be a good option for you if your home environment isn't a safe place for you to be overnight, or things at home are contributing to your crisis, but it's not suitable for you to be admitted to hospital. There is no single model for a crisis house and you might find some services described as a 'sanctuary' or 'safe haven'.

Most crisis houses offer:

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

Sometimes the staff will have experience of mental health crises themselves.

Crisis house, sanctuary or safe haven?

These services can be very similar. The main difference is that services described as crisis houses usually offer overnight accommodation with a bed for you sleep in, whereas services described as sanctuaries or safe havens usually don't. Sanctuaries and safe havens might be open overnight as a supportive place for you to go for several hours during a crisis, but they don't usually provide somewhere for you to sleep or live in.

When should I use this service?

When you need more intensive support than can be offered to you at home, but it’s not appropriate for you to be admitted to hospital.

How can I access crisis houses?

Crisis houses can be run by:

  • The NHS
  • independent organisations, such as charities
  • The NHS and charities in collaboration

Some crisis houses let you refer yourself, but for most you will need to be referred by a mental health professional. The crisis house staff will also need to assess you before you can be admitted, to make sure it’s the right place to help you.

Criteria for admission often include:

  • the length of stay you'll need
  • what kind of mental health crisis you’re experiencing
  • your willingness to abide by house rules (this might be about drug use or how you behave towards other residents)
  • your background, as some crisis houses are set up to help specific groups (such as women or people also struggling with drug addiction)

Because most crisis houses are run by, or in partnership with, the NHS, they will usually be free of charge. If you find a private crisis house you want to access, remember to check if there are any costs involved.

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 near me?

Unfortunately there are a very limited number of crisis houses around England and Wales, and there might not necessarily be a crisis house near you. We've listed a number of known crisis houses and sanctuaries below.

Please note:

  • Mind does not endorse any particular crisis house or sanctuary, including those listed on this page. We have no knowledge of their services or performance.
  • This is not an exhaustive list. You may be able to find other crisis houses or sanctuaries near you.
  • It is your responsibility to decide whether the crisis house or sanctuary you are considering using is appropriate for you, and whether you're comfortable with their rules, attitudes and treatments.
  • Bristol Men's Crisis House – residential crisis house located in Bristol, for men only. You can be referred by a health care professional, or you can self-refer by calling 0117 934 9848.
  • Bristol Sanctuary – non-residential service located in Bristol open 7pm–2am on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. To find out more you can contact them on 0117 9542952.
  • Coed Arian Community Crisis House – residential crisis house for residents of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, run by Welsh mental health charity Gofal with the local health board. A health care professional can refer you to this service.
  • Dial House – non-residential service located in Leeds, open 6pm–2am on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. To refer yourself call 0113 260 9328 on the night you wish to request a visit.
  • Drayton Park Women's Crisis Centre – residential crisis house located in London that accepts self-referrals from women living in Camden and Islington. To find out more you can contact them on 020 7607 2777, or visit their website.
  • Hastings Sanctuary Service – sanctuary located in Hastings (Sussex), run by the charity Turning Point. This service is for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis, and they do accept people with drug or alcohol problems. Your CHRT team must refer you to this service.
  • Link House – residential crisis house located in Bristol, 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 contact them on 0117 925 1811 or email
  • Maytree Suicide Respite Centre – residential crisis house located in London, which accepts self-referals. To find out more you can contact them on 020 7263 7070, or visit their website.
  • Rethink Mental Illness crisis houses – the charity Rethink Mental Illness offers a number of crisis houses around the country. You can find a full list by searching the online directory on their website, or alternatively contact their information line on 0300 5000 927 (open weekdays between 10am–2pm, excluding bank holidays) and ask for details of the nearest crisis house to you.
  • The Safe Haven – non-residential service located in Corby (Northamptonshire), open Saturday–Tuesday evenings, between 6pm–2am. To find out more you can contact them on 01536 461414, or visit their website.
  • Samaritans local branches – some local branches of the Samaritans around the country offer a drop in service where you can talk to a volunteer about anything that is upsetting you.
  • The Sanctuary – non-residential service with locations in Greater Manchester, Wigan & Leigh and Bolton, open every day throughout the year 8pm–6am. Refer yourself by calling:
    • Manchester: 0161 637 0808
    • Wigan & Leigh: 01942 410 522
    • Bolton: 0300 303 0581
  • The Sanctuary Grimbsy – non-residential service located in Grimsby (Lincolnshire), open between 8pm–6am. Refer yourself by calling 01472 722 007.

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

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