HomeWhat to do in a crisis

What to do in a crisis

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

What is a crisis?

The word ‘crisis’ can have a variety of meanings depending on the individual and their circumstances.

Common feelings that occur during a crisis are distress, helplessness, panic, a loss of hope, no longer being able to or wanting to cope with life’s difficulties or a loss of connection or understanding of reality.

How a crisis can be resolved will vary depending on the person’s wishes and needs. Some find that a conversation with a trusted person helps, whilst others might visit their local A&E department, book an emergency GP appointment, counselling session or use a helpline.

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

You may not know exactly how it feels but trying to understand and listening to a person can truly help them to work through and make sense of their experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a clearer picture of what the person wants in order to overcome a crisis.

Getting help

It’s important to talk to someone you trust; this could be a loved one, a friend or a professional. Sometimes just being listened to and understood can start to ease the burden and provide a sense of hope that can help you to start to feel better.

Professional help

If you feel like you are in immediate danger you can call 999 or visit your local A&E Department.

Contact your GP

You can contact your GP surgery and ask for an emergency appointment. In a crisis, you should be offered an appointment with the first available doctor.

More information regarding GP appointments and bookings can be found on the NHS’ website here or find your local GP here.


There are a number of dedicated support lines that are open all day, every day where you can speak to someone confidentially about any difficulties you might be having.

  • Samaritans: available over the phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call them on 116 123 for free.
  • C.A.LL Helpline: offers emotional support and information/literature on Mental Health and related matters to the people of Wales.
  • Young Minds: text the YoungMinds Crisis Messenger, for free 24/7 support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis. 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 which can be contacted on 0800 068 4141.

Suicidal thoughts

Staying Safe from suicidal thoughts is a platform that offers compassion, kindness and easy ways to help keep people 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.


Counselling and 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 Breathe’s website.

Breathe is our counselling and wellbeing centre based in Cardiff. If you are based elsewhere in Wales you can use this counselling directory.

Support Groups

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

It’s important to remember that many people experience crises but with the right support it is possible to get through the painful and challenging times to live a happy and fulfilled life. A crisis can be the hardest thing that you face but later down the line you can learn from this experience and even help others in the future.

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