If your mental health problems are severe or longer lasting, or the treatment your doctor has offered you isn't working, they can refer you to specialist mental health services. This page provides a brief overview of the following services, and explains where you can find more information:
Community mental health teams (CMHTs)
CMHTs support people with mental health problems living in the community, and also their carers. The team may include a community psychiatric nurse (CPN), a psychologist, an occupational therapist, a counsellor and a community support worker, as well as a social worker.
Often, a member of the team will be appointed as your care coordinator, to keep in regular contact with you and help plan your care.
Social (or community) care
Social care is any care or support you need to carry out day-to-day tasks which you're finding difficult. This could include help with managing money or improving relationships, transport to attend appointments or services, or assistance with benefits and housing applications. You can ask your doctor or CMHT to refer you to social services, or you can contact them directly to ask for an assessment.
(See our legal pages about health and social care for more information on your rights to social care, and how to access these services.)
Read Marian's blog about how a day centre has helped her.
If you aren’t able to cope on your own at home, there are other options for housing. You can talk through your options with your support worker(s), carers and mental health team. You might be able to access:
- hostels – these are short-term accommodation, with supervision, to help you until you can live more independently.
- residential care homes – these offer a much higher level of support for people with severe mental health problems.
- therapeutic communities – these are for short stays, with group or individual therapy as part of their rehabilitation programmes.
- supported housing schemes – these enable you to live independently, in furnished accommodation, with the back-up of a mental health support worker in case you need extra help.
(See our pages on housing and mental health for more information about the link between your mental health and your housing situation.)
Listen to Clarissa's experience of living in a therapeutic community.
In most areas, you should have access to a crisis resolution and home treatment team (CRHT). These teams can support you through a crisis at home.
If you do not have access to a local crisis service, you could:
- get an emergency appointment with your doctor
- call the Samaritans
- contact your CMHT if you have been referred to it previously
- go to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at a local hospital or call 999 if you are at immediate risk.
(See our page on CRHTs for more information about how they can help. Our pages on crisis services have more information about your options for support during a mental health crisis.)
I did take myself to the crisis team at A&E and got some help, [although I was] left to sit on my own for two hours. [After waiting] I was put in touch with the right people – they came to see me while I was there and I had a psych evaluation.