If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, there are a number of people you could go to, depending on the severity of what you’re experiencing and whether or not you’re already under mental health services.
Firstly, if you’re actively suicidal or have self harmed badly, then please ring 999 or go to A&E. If you’re not sure, ring 111 and they’ll be able to advise you.
If it’s your first time reaching out for help or you’re not under mental health services, then get an appointment with your GP ASAP. They’ll be able to sign post you to the right people, whether it’s mental health services or counselling or A&E. They’ll also be able to give you antidepressants if you’re suffering with depression or anxiety.
Your CPN/Care Coordinator
If you have a CPN and are able to, contact them as soon as you can. Unfortunately, they only work office hours and as we all know, a crisis isn’t limited to 9-5. If your CPN isn’t able to speak to you, you should be able to speak to the duty worker. Sometimes getting advice and talking to someone familiar is really useful. Sometimes, not so much, especially if you’re a stubborn as me in a crisis. They’ll be able to talk to you or do a safety plan or give you distraction techniques.
If you’re under mental health services, you should have your local crisis team number. The crisis team are there out of hours so if you’re having a crisis and it’s night time or the weekend, then they’re there for you. I don’t know how it works in other parts of the country, but in my area you have call the switchboard and wait for a call back, which means you can be waiting for hours. A lot of people hate the crisis team but there are some good nurses, it’s just luck of the draw. They tend to just give you distraction techniques, although sometimes they will come out and see you or ask you to go and see them, especially if they think you need a hospital admission.
There are a number of helplines that can be used by people in a crisis. My personal favourites are Samaritans and PAPYRUS. Samaritans are a 24/7 service and are open 365 days a year. They help you talk through anything that’s on your mind. It’s a common misconception that you have to be suicidal to ring them. They’re there for anyone. PAPYRUS are a helpline for people ages 35 and under and are open 10am-10pm weekdays and 2pm-10am weekends and bank holidays. They help people who are suicidal and can also help people who are worried about someone who is suicidal.
Samaritans – 116 123
PAPYRUS Hopeline – 0800 068 41 41
CALM (helpine for men) – 0800 58 58 58