Expert answers from
In an emergency
If your relative’s mental health deteriorates rapidly, you may need to get help and support urgently.
If your relative has previously experienced a psychotic episode, it is helpful to plan what to do in an emergency and keep relevant phone numbers in your mobile phone, or by your landline, in case you need them quickly. You can seek advice from your GP or any of the mental health professionals who have offered support to your relative.
If your relative has a care coordinator, ask them what number you should ring for urgent advice and help during office hours, and ask them what to do at other times (they may suggest you contact a crisis resolution/home treatment team, for example). Your relative's care plan should include written information about getting help during a crisis.
In an emergency, during office hours:
• contact your relative’s GP;
• or take your relative to an accident and emergency department where you can see a duty psychiatrist;
• or contact your relative's care coordinator (if they have one), or do as they have advised you;
• or contact you relative’s psychiatrist (if they have one), if you have a good relationship with them.
In an emergency, outside office hours:
• take your relative to an accident and emergency department where you can see a duty psychiatrist;
• or phone the local social services emergency duty team (you can find this number in advance by searching for 'social services emergency team' on your local council's website);
• or phone the number given by your relative's care coordinator (if they have one).
If your relative tries to take his or her own life:
seek medical help immediately. Take him or her to an accident and emergency department, or call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
If you are seriously worried about your own safety:
call 999 and ask for the police.
This page was last updated 28 November 2012.
There are currently no plans to update the page because existing funding for mentalhealthcare.org.uk ceases at the end of April 2013.