Suicidal thoughts - how to support someone - Services
What services can help someone who is feeling suicidal?
Crisis and home treatment teams
Crisis teams are sometimes also called home treatment teams. They are part of mental health services. They are help people who are having a mental health crisis. They should be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are an alternative to going into hospital.
How someone gets help from a crisis team varies between different areas of the country. You may be able to contact them as a friend or family member. GPs, Accident and Emergency departments (A & E) and the police can also ask them to see someone.
Accident and Emergency department
If someone is feeling suicidal, you could try and them to a local hospital that has an Accident and Emergency department (A&E). Staff can speak to them about how they are feeling and ‘triage staff’ will decide if they need to be admitted to hospital or not.
You can give A&E staff as much information as possible so they can make the right decision.
If you think that someone is in urgent danger, is going to try and take their life immediately or has already tried, call 999.
- Crisis houses help people in crisis and are an alternative to going into hospital. Usually people only stay in a crisis house from a couple of days up to a month. The NHS, charities and other services run them. They are not available in every area of the country but you can check what there is locally through the local crisis team or doing a search online.
- Emotional support services help by listening to someone’s concerns and giving them space and time to talk through how they feel. Details of emotional support services are at the end of this factsheet.
What happens next?
When someone is feeling suicidal and has tried to take their own life or plans to, usually they will be taken to hospital. Sometimes they might be treated at home or visited regularly by the crisis or home treatment team.
After someone has been in hospital, going back home can be difficult and someone may still need a lot of support.
Links between services
There should be good links between Accident and Emergency departments (A&E) and mental health services. However, these links are not always good enough.
A&E do not always pass details onto the local crisis team. If they don’t, then you can contact the crisis team instead.
Letting someone who is suicidal leave hospital
Doctors should carry out a risk assessment when thinking about discharging someone from hospital. This might look at whether someone is feeling suicidal and is thinking about ending their life. Carers should also be part of this decision if possible.
Getting more help from mental health services
Some people get passed back to their GP with no other support.
If this happens, the GP should think about asking for help from the local mental health services such as the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). This sort of team can give more specialist help.
The person you are supporting could get help under the ‘Care Programme Approach’ (CPA) if they meet the criteria. CPA is used to organise many people’s care who are under mental health services and who have complex needs.
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