Information for the public

What should happen in a crisis?

What should happen in a crisis?

There should be a local 24-hour helpline that you can call in a crisis. Your GP should know the telephone number.

If you have a crisis, and you are referred for assessment or treatment in mental health services, you should be seen within 4 hours. Health and social care professionals should first find out if you have details in your crisis plan (including advance statements or advance decisions) of what should happen. They should also find out if you have an advocate, and should contact them if you wish. If you are offered an assessment, you should be asked if you would prefer to see a male or female professional – your preference should be met wherever possible.

Professionals should be supportive and respectful and should give you clear information about the assessment (see what should happen during an assessment at mental health services?). The professional assessing you will ask you about your living conditions, how well you are managing in everyday life, your relationships, symptoms, behaviour, diagnosis, and any treatment you are having.

Assessment during a crisis can take place at home or where you live. If this is not possible, or you do not want an assessment at home, professionals should take full account of where you would prefer to have the assessment. A crisis resolution and home treatment team will usually be the first service to assess you. The team should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and should support you to stay at home rather than going into hospital if possible. The team may offer you treatment at home and should help you continue your day-to-day activities, including education, work, volunteering, caring for family members and leisure activities.

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