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 more support could I get?

If you're going through a crisis but you're not urgently worried for your safety, there are some other sources of support you can access, such as:

Day services

If you’re managing a mental health crisis at home, you could be referred to day services. These can include:

  • drop-in centres
  • acute day hospital services
  • one-to-one support
  • group support

Not all of these services are set up to help people manage a crisis, but some can do this if you're also getting support from other places to help keep you safe – such as your crisis resolution and home treatment (CRHT) team.

I once had to have the NHS community mental health team come out to assess me. Their service was good, but the next team I saw were better, and so was the day centre.

How can it help me?

Day services can help you resolve a crisis and learn self-management techniques that may help in the future. They can include:

The staff tend to have a good knowledge of local services and close links with the local community mental health team (CMHT). You can use day services in combination with care provided by an unpaid carer (such as a family member) and contact with your GP, CMHT or CRHT team.

How can I access day services?

You can find day services near you by checking:

  • NHS service finder – you can search online for NHS services near you, including day centres.
  • Your CRHT team, or local CMHT, if you're in contact with them. They might know of local services you can access.
  • Your local Mind – many local Minds offer activities and services to support you in looking after your mental health.
  • Rethink Mental Illness' service directory.
  • Crisis houses – some might let you visit during the day to access their support programmes, even if you're not staying overnight.

Online support

The internet can be a quick and accessible way to get support if you're going through a difficult time, but you don't feel like it's an emergency situation.

Remember: internet support isn't the same as professional help. If you're in extreme crisis and you’re worried about keeping yourself safe, you should seek emergency support.

How can it help me?

You could use the internet to:

  • look for health information and learn tips to cope with a crisis
  • get peer support
  • make friends with people who understand what you’re going through

Online support can be useful because you:

  • can access it 24-hours a day
  • don’t have to wait to be seen or get a referral
  • don’t need a diagnosis to use it
  • can try different types of support quickly to find the right one for you
  • can use many sites for free
  • can access it wherever you are (if you have access to the internet on your phone or other mobile device)

How can I access online support?

Many online support services are run by charities, and you can access them for free – but you usually have to register an account with your email address. For example:

When using the internet to seek support for your mental health it's important to keep yourself safe. See our pages on how to stay safe online for more information.

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

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