Mind - For Better Mental Health

What to do in a crisis

What is a crisis?

By crisis we are referring to a sudden deterioration in a person's mental state which requires immediate attention. This could be described as acute mental distress, characterised by delusional or suicidal thinking or out of control behaviour which could lead to self injury or the harming of others. It should be stated that these are generally rare occurrences. Nevertheless, anyone who is showing signs of acute mental distress should be taken seriously.

At the end of the day who to contact will depend upon the history of the person in question and whether this is a first or recurrent experience. The key thing is to get help quickly to deal with the immediate situation as safely and calmly as possible.

- People that use mental health services may have a Crisis Card or an Advanced Directive with them. This gives information about who to contact in a crisis.

- Or they may have a Care Plan and a named professional responsible for care, ask them.

For people who are experiencing acute mental distress for the first time the options are

- Contact the persons GP or the GP out of hours service and explain the problem or

- Contact Single Point Of Access (SPoA) a mental health contact centre which provides a single point of access for patients, carers and clinicians seeking mental health advice and support. Contact centre is available 24/7 on 0300 222 0123.

- Phone NHS 111 (non-emergency number). Call this number when you need medical help fast but it's not an emergency.

- If the crisis is rapidly deteriorating and cannot wait then contact the Community Mental Health Team, by phone ( 01303 ) 227510 9am - 5pm Mon - Fri.

- If none of the above options are available or satisfactory then;

Either: Take the person to A&E at the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford and request to see the on site mental health practitioner. Only in extreme circumstances will anyone be admitted immediately to inpatient services.

- Or if there is a risk of physical violence or risk of self harm you may need to phone the police.

There are confidential out of hours helplines which can offer advice and support;

Mental health matters - 0800 107 0160 ( 24 hours ) Low-cost number for mobile phone users - 0300 330 5486.

Samaritans - 08457 90 90 90

For legal advice please contact National Mind. Their Legal Unit provides information about mental health and related law to those experiencing mental distress, families, carers, advocates and other professionals. Tel: 0300 466 6463 Mon - Fri 9am-5pm.
Post: Mind Legal Advice Service, PO Box 277, Manchester, M60 3XN. email: legal@mind.org.uk.