What to do in a mental health emergency

If you're suffering from a mental health emergency or crisis, please reach out to the appropriate services for immediate help.

I'm based in the UK, so have information for UK residents. If you're elsewhere in the world, please seek out similar mental health emergency services where you are.

Here in the UK, I'd recommend:

Dial 999 for a medical emergency. One of the criteria for calling 999 is "an acute confused state". You can also call on behalf of someone who is in such a state but cannot call for themselves.

If you're not sure the situation qualifies as a medical emergency, you can use the 111 service, either visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111. It's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you feel the need to urgently talk to someone, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Their number is 116 123. If that doesn't work for any reason. here's their webpage for contact details so you can find the most up-to-date information. Calling them is free from landlines and mobiles, even pay-as-you-go mobiles. They are there to listen and not judge. They don't use caller ID and won't know who you are unless you tell them. The Samaritans number won't appear on your phone bill.

If you'd like information on different mental health issues, this A-Z page by the charity Mind is a useful place to start.

If you think you may need help, please reach out to someone to talk to immediately.

Neil Shearing, Ph.D.