Coping with a mental health crisis

If you care for someone with a mental condition you are likely to experience some difficult times. It's important to know where to get help in a crisis.

The nature of a mental health crisis always depends on the particular circumstances of a person, and people will experience a wide variety of symptoms. You probably know better than most when someone you care for is getting ill and they are reaching crisis point. 

Some people may feel highly agitated, anxious, in despair, experience suicidal impulses or the need to self-harm, are immobilised by depression, or are frightened when they are in the changed reality of psychosis.

Others feel confused or delirious because of an infection; take an overdose, illicit drugs or intoxication with alcohol. A crisis may be a sudden deterioration of an existing mental health problem, or a person may be experiencing mental health problems for the first time.

If you have concerns about a person who has been diagnosed with a mental condition, they may already be under the care of a mental health team, and have a care plan which states who to contact and what to do when they need urgent care. You should follow the information in this plan. 

What to do in an emergency

If you or someone you know is in imminent danger of taking your own life or harming other people, don’t hesitate and call 999 right away.

You can also go to your nearest Accident and Emergency department (A&E):

Kingston Hospital A&E
Address: Galsworthy Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT2 7QB
Phone: 020 8546 7711

West Middlesex University Hospital A&E
Address: West Middlesex University Hospital, Twickenham Road, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 6AF
Phone: 020 8560 2121

Non-urgent support

If you don’t feel in immediate danger but are upset or confused and having thoughts about harming yourself:

  • Talk to you GP
  • Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling
  • Call NHS 111

If you are already known to mental health services, their care co-ordinator should always be the first point of contact. Outside of normal office hours, contact:

South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust Crisis Line
Phone: 0800 028 8000 (Mon-Fri 5pm to 9am, weekends and bank holidays 24 hours)

If you are getting help from the Mental Health Social Care team, please contact:

Richmond Council Adult Access Team
Address: Adult Social Services, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
Phone: 020 8891 7971
Minicom: 18001 020 8891 7971

Richmond Council Emergency Out of Hours Team
Phone: 020 8744 2442

National helplines:

If you are not sure what to do or just need to offload and talk to someone about your problems, then you may find one of these national helplines useful:

Address: Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA
Phone: 116 123

Phone: 0300 5000 927 - Monday to Friday, 9:30am - 4:00pm

Mind Infoline
Phone: 0300 123 3393 - weekdays 9am - 6pm