What to do in a mental health crisis

What is a Mental Health Crisis?

The term crisis is when someone reaches breaking pointcannot cope and needs help urgently.

When someone is in a mental health crisis they:

  • Lack the ability to form effective decisions
  • They may become distressed, confused, emotional, behave erratically
  • Think/talk/act on suicidal/self harm

What to do in the event of a crisis? 

Is the person an immediate danger to themselves / others

YES- Immediate help needed

  • If you have serious concerns for someone’s immediate safety then they can go to Accident and Emergency or phone emergency services 999 for assistance.
  • Call the Mental Health 24/7 Response Line – 0800 953 1919.  This line is open 24 hours a day, every day for crisis support
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services CAMHS emergency helpline - 0800 9539599
  • Contact the person’s GP, or the GP out of hours service and explain the problem
  • Phone NHS 111 (For a BSL interpreter see NHS 111 - SignVideo) Option 2 to access First Response for mental health services
  • The Samaritans: provide 24 hr 7 day week confidential emotional support. They can be contacted on 116 123 (free to call) or 01179831000 (local call rate) or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Vita Health Group 24/7 helpline: Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
    24/7 Support & Connect: Immediate emotional and practical support helpline
    Tel: 0800 0126549
    A 24/7 confidential helpline staffed by experienced counsellors, who you can talk to and they will listen. They will offer emotional support and can connect you to organisations available in Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.

I DONT KNOW - I would like to talk to someone

  • Contact the GP practice to arrange mental health support
  • Bristol MIND on 0117 980 0370 between 9:30am and 3:30pm​
  • Bristol Mindline: who provide up to 30 mins per call emotional support. They are open Wed-Sunday 8pm –midnight. They can be contacted on 0800 808 0330
  • Text "SHOUT" to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, or text "YM" if you're under 19
  • If you're under 19, you can also call 0800 1111 to talk to Childline. The number will not appear on your phone bill.
  • The Sanctuary which is at: 1 New St, Bristol BS2 9DX- Telephone them on- 0117 954 2952 or 07709 295 661.
    Bristol Sanctuary is a place to come when in serious emotional distress. They aim to provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment. The Sanctuary is open between 7pm and 2am, Fridays to Mondays – places can be secured by calling 0117 954 2925 after 5pm, or emailing awp.bmhsanctuary@nhs.net at any time, on the day that a place is needed.

For people who have accessed mental health services before it may be useful to have on your person:

  • Crisis card (if you have one)- this will include help lines and what to do in a crisis information
  • Personalised Safety Plan- this will include warning signs the person may show, known triggers, distraction techniques, emergency contacts including health professionals, out of hours and helplines

NO- I am not in crisis but am struggling with my mental health