Getting help in a crisis
If you care for someone with a mental illness, you may find that there are times when that person’s mental illness worsens and needs additional or more urgent help. This might be for someone who is not yet diagnosed with a mental illness or for someone who has a long history of mental illness. This section aims to give you information on who to contact if you feel that the situation has reached crisis and you need immediate help and support.
- For most, a mental health crisis is when someone’s health deteriorates or worsens to the point where they need urgent help from professional services.
- You and the person you care for may notice early warning signs that their mental health is worsening. It can be useful to try and get help at this stage to help prevent a possible mental health crisis.
- You could contact the local Community Mental Health Team or local crisis team directly for help. This may be helpful when the team knows the person you are concerned about. If the person is not known to local mental health services, in some areas it may be possible for people to self-refer or for carers and relatives to refer to these teams.
- In some circumstances, it may be appropriate for the Mental Health Act to be used. Someone’s ‘nearest relative’ can request that an assessment under the Mental Health Act is considered for the person you are concerned about. The role of nearest relative is defined under the Mental Health Act.
- It is important to be persistent when trying to get help in a crisis, particularly if it is proving difficult to get that help.
These pages are created by Rethink Mental Illness' Advice and Information Service in accordance with the Information Standard. Last reviewed in October 2012. Next review October 2014.
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