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Urgent mental healthcare

How to get urgent mental healthcare

If a person's mental or emotional state gets worse quickly, this can be called a mental health emergency or mental health crisis. In this situation, it's important to get help quickly to stop the person harming themselves or others.

Mental health emergencies can include:

  • threats of suicide or self-harm
  • self-neglect, such as stopping eating or drinking
  • aggressive behaviour
  • being extremely distressed
  • going missing

In an emergency, you may need to contact someone for help. The care plan of the person you care for (usually drawn up under the Care Programme Approach if they have severe mental health problems) should contain details of who to contact in a mental health emergency.

If this isn't in their care plan, call their GP first. For urgent advice or treatment when your GP surgery is closed contact the GP out-of-hours service, Cumbria Health on Call (CHoC) - 111.

If the person is known to the community mental health team (CMHT), it is likely that they will have an assigned care co-ordinator or mental health worker. Contact them or, if you need urgent help out of hours, you should be able to speak to a duty worker, usually on the same number.

If you cannot find who to contact, your local social services has a mental health crisis team, which is available both in and out of hours. Contact details will be available through your local council.

If you think there is any immediate danger, call 999.

If the person you care for has written something on Facebook about struggling to cope or suicide and you can't contact them, you can report the suicidal content to Facebook. Facebook will put Samaritans in touch with the distressed friend to offer their expert support.

Click here for further details on how to cope in a mental health emergency.

Suicide Bereavement Support

The Suicide Bereavement Support service is a Cumbria based organisation that was set up to offer support to those who have lost a relative or friend through suicide.

More information on how the SBS can help in this difficult time can be found here on the website.

Herbert Protocol - protocol to help finding missing people with dementia

The Herbert Protocol is a national scheme adopted by Cumbria Constabulary and other police services across the country.

It encourages carers, families, friends or neighbours, to hold information about the person with dementia that can help the police find them if they do go missing.

The basis of the scheme is for vital information about the person such as medication, description, photograph, significant places in the person's life and their daily routine, to be recorded on a form.

The form should then be stored safely – either in electronic format on a computer, or a printed version. It may need to be located quickly, at any time of day or night, by the person who needs the information to begin the initial searches.

When the form is complete, it will contain confidential information about a person so it should be stored securely. Any partner agency required to complete the form will become the data controllers and must store it appropriately.

The form can be downloaded here.

For more information on the Herbert Protocol download the leaflet here.

The police will only ask for the form, or the information in the form, if the person is reported missing.

The information will help the police and other agencies locate the missing person as quickly as possible and return them to safety.