Crisis services and planning for a crisis

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

Accessing NHS services in a crisis

Simon tells us about his experiences accessing NHS services in a crisis.

Simon
Posted on 05/07/2018

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

Claire
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.

Caroline
Posted on 27/11/2013

What are helplines and listening services?

Many national and local organisations run helplines that you can call in a crisis. Talking to a trained listener could give you some support and help you make sense of what's happening for you.

This page covers:

When should I use a helpline or listening service?

If you're struggling with difficult feelings and need to talk to someone quickly, including if you're not ready or able to access other types of support.

How could they help me?

By letting you talk through your feelings and experiences without judging you or telling you what to do. Many listening services let you talk through your problems 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.

Who can I contact?

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!

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 – to be revised in 2021. References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information see our page on permissions and licensing.


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