Information for the public
Helping you to get the treatment and care that you need
If your GP or another professional thinks that mental health services can help you, they should give you information about local services and will write to the service to ask for an appointment. They should give or send you a copy of this letter when they send it to the service. The mental health service should offer you an appointment that takes place within 3 weeks of your GP sending the letter. You can change the date and time of the appointment if you wish, but if there is a change there should not be a delay of more than 2 weeks before you see a professional in the service.
When you receive a letter from mental health services offering you an appointment it should give the name and title of the professional who will see you for an assessment. The letter should contain information about the service including a website address if available, details of how to get there, and a number to call if you have problems getting to the service or wish to change the appointment. It should clearly explain what happens during an assessment, which should include questions that health and social care professionals will ask you (for example, about any medication you are taking). You should be asked if you need any support during your appointment, for example, a hearing loop, wheelchair access or an interpreter (professionals should not use friends or family members as interpreters). Professionals should reassure you if you are worried about attending a mental health service. The letter should explain that you can have a family member, carer or advocate with you at the appointment, but professionals will prefer to see you on your own for some of the meeting. If you have children, you should be offered information about childcare so that you can attend the appointment.