Get help now Make a donation

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.

Urgent mental health helplines (England only)

If you live in England, you can call a local NHS urgent mental health helpline for support during a mental health crisis. Anyone can call these helplines, at any time.

These helplines offer similar support to a crisis team. The NHS website has more information on urgent mental health helplines, including how to find your local helpline.

"Once a girl actually answered the phone and kept me talking through my thoughts and suicidal feelings for almost three hours! To her I shall be eternally grateful!"

How could they help me?

Listening line staff will let you talk through your feelings and experiences without judging you or telling you what to do. Many listening services let you talk for as long as you need.

Before calling a helpline, you might want to consider:

  • What times are they open?
  • Is it free to call or is there a cost involved?
  • Is what you say confidential? For example, many services have policies on what to do if someone says they have attempted suicide or are actively planning to.
  • What will you do if the line is busy? It's often worth trying several times, or you might plan to call back later or try a different service.

You might be able to find this information on the organisation's website, or you could ask the advisor to explain their policies during the call.

"I saw the number of a charity crisis line (similar to Samaritans), phoned and someone listened and had time, which actually helped me."

If you can't talk on the phone

As well as phone numbers to call, some organisations routinely offer support in other ways – which could include emails, text messages or web chat. Or you might need to make a specific request:

This information was published in October 2018. We will revise it in 2021.

Need more support with this issue? Our helplines are here for you.

Need the references and evidence sheet for this page? Contact our publishing team.

Want to reproduce content from this page? See our page on permissions and licensing.

Share this information

arrow_upwardBack to Top