HomeWhat to do in a crisis

What to do in a crisis

The most important thing is that a person experiencing a crisis is supported to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe space.

Ways to get help

  • If you feel in immediate danger, ring 999 or visit your local emergency department.
  • Speak to a trusted friend or family member
  • Use a 24/7 helpline – see the list below
  • Ring your GP for an emergency appointment. (In a crisis, you should be offered an appointment with the first available doctor.)
  • If you are feeling suicidal, info from people who have been there can be found via Staying Safe. You can also call The Samaritans on 116 123.
  • Remember: This crisis won’t last forever. With some support, things can and will improve.

Places to get help now

Dedicated support lines that are always open, and where you can speak to someone confidentially.

  • Samaritans: available by phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call them on 116 123 for free.
  • C.A.LL Helpline: emotional support and info on mental health and related matters (Wales)
  • Young Minds: If you need urgent help text YM to 85258. All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors
  • Young Minds also offer a helpline for parents and guardians: 0808 802 5544.
  • Papyrus: for people under 35 and those supporting them Papyrus offer a Hopeline: 0800 068 4141.
  • Childline: a free, private and confidential service  for anyone under 19 in the UK to help with any issue you’re going through.  Call 0800 1111.
  • Meic: helpline service for children and young people in Wales up to the age of 25. Available from 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. You can contact Meic by phone, email, SMS text and instant messaging. Meic is confidential, anonymous, free, and just for you.

Help with suicidal thoughts

Staying Safe from Suicidal Thoughts offer compassion, kindness and ways to help you be safer from thoughts of harm and suicide, seek support and discover hope of recovery through powerful videos from people with personal experience.

Visit the website and access their free videos and tools.


Talking therapies can help you to work through your feelings and difficult times that you may be experiencing.

A counselling session involves a trained therapist listening to you and helping you find ways to move towards a positive mental health recovery. There are many counselling approaches and information about these can be found on the Platfform Wellbeing website.

Here’s a counselling directory.

Support Groups

Many people find that speaking to people who have experienced similar challenges or difficulties can be beneficial. Why not research if your local area hosts a support group for any of the challenges that are facing? If there’s nothing available in your area remember to check for online groups or forums – these are often run by charities.

Find out about how some of the people we have worked with have overcome crises and difficult times here.

Getting help for someone else

You may not know exactly how a person feels but taking the time to listen and explaining that you care can truly help to work through a painful experience.

When someone feels overwhelmed by their thoughts or circumstances it can be hard to see a way out. Remind them that they are not alone and that together you can find a way to get the right support. It’s important that they realise that with a little help they can overcome even the most painful times.

What you can do to help

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a clearer picture of what the person wants in order to overcome a crisis.
  • A caring conversation is so important, explain that you care and want to help.
  • Do not minimise how they are feeling, be open, non-judgemental, and honest about your concerns.
  • If they are feeling suicidal and you are worried about their safety, stay with them and ring 999 or accompany them to an emergency department. Keep the person informed of what you’re doing and reassure them that you are getting help.
  • Share your concerns with relatives, the person’s loved ones – make sure that they are supported at all times until the feelings have passed.
  • Ring their GP for an emergency appointment or try NHS direct 0845 46 47 and 111 out of hours
  • Visit the Staying Safe website, watch some of the videos together to see how people have overcome feeling suicidal and consider supporting the person to write a safety plan.
  • Stay with the person until they have received the right support and are feeling better, this involves the person you are worried about having additional support or an assessment from a suitably qualified person.