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Is it an emergency? (Risk management)

Page last updated: 09/08/2021

​A mental health 'crisis' often means that a child / young person (CYP) may no longer feel able to cope or be in control of their immediate situation. This might present as great emotional distress or anxiety. The CYP may be struggling with feelings such as helplessness, hopelessness and despair during this time. They may be thinking about suicide or have actively planned/attempted to complete suicide. Other presentations may include injury and/or experiencing hallucinations and hearing voices.  A crisis can also be the result of an underlying medical condition. This could be confusion or delusions caused by an infection, overdose, illicit drugs or intoxication with alcohol. NHS - Dealing with a Mental Health Crisis or Emergency

Need Urgent Advice?

NHS urgent mental health helplines are for people of all ages.

You can call for: 

  • 24-hour advice and support – for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for 
  • Help to speak to a mental health professional 
  • An assessment to help decide on the best course of care   

Find your local NHS urgent mental health helpline  

Levels of risk

This comes from NHS in collaboration with Essex, Southend and Thurrock Services. These services do not hold clinical responsibility for you using these pages: 

Immediate Life Threatening Risk (Children, Young People and Adults)

 

Call 999 or go to your nearest A&E Department:  

  • if someone's life is at risk – for example, they have seriously injured themselves or taken an overdose 
  • you do not feel you can keep yourself or someone else safe 

A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical one. You will not be wasting anyone's time. 

Urgent (Children, Young People and Adults)

  • Call your mental health support worker, if you have one. This may be your care co-ordinator or key worker. 
  • Find a local NHS urgent Mental Health Helpline: If you need help during a mental health crisis or emergency, NHS urgent mental health helplines provide:
    • 24-hour advice and support - for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for
    • help to speak to a mental health professional
    • an assessment to help decide on the best course of care