What is a mental health emergency?
A mental health emergency is where there is a danger or risk to life that is current or imminent. This may be someone who is:
- at risk of suicide or actively suicidal
- at risk of or is endangering the safety of themselves, someone else or others
- disoriented, expressing irrational thoughts and behaviours (for example: delusions, hallucinations, hearing voices, extreme suspiciousness, paranoia)
- mentally unwell, behaving in extreme or bizarre ways (for example: severely agitated, threatening violence), or
- stopping functioning and unable to comunicate with anyone
What do I do in an emergency?
In an emergency you need to act quickly. If you believe a person is in crisis and the situation is a mental health emergency, call 999 immediately (ambulance and/or police) and tell them clearly who is at risk.
In a psychological emergency, where there is imminent risk, do not accompany the person to hospital.
If the person at risk to themselves or others is already engaged with mental health services and is receiving support from the community mental health team or other support services, they may, if they are well enough/able to do so, also contact their local support team:
- Community Mental Health & Recovery Services (CMHRS) or
- Home Treatment Team (HTT):
If the person is not already engaged with mental health services, they can still access the following support:
- NHS Mental Health Service helplines (24/7):
- Kent: +44 (0)800 783 9111. Under 18s- 0800 011 3474 (option 1, then option 3)
- Surrey: +44 (0)800 915 4644
- The Samaritans (24/7): 116 123 or email email@example.com
- Text Shout to 85258 (24/7)
- Childline (for young people aged 18 and under): +44 (0)800 1111
- During surgery open hours, you can also call your GP and ask for an emergency appointment.
- Call NHS 111 or 999 if in a life-threatening situation, or visit your local Hospital A&E services.
Mental health resources
If you require general information about mental health, our mental health resources webpage contains links to helpful external organisations, as well as lots of other useful resources.