The person I care for is/ I am having a mental health crisis or emergency. Who do I contact?


Mental health is a varied area of medicine.  The nature of a mental health crisis always depends on the particular circumstances of an individual and there is no one-size-fits-all approach as people experience a wide variety of symptoms.

Some people feel highly agitated, anxious, in despair, experience suicidal impulses or the need to self-harm, are immobilised by depression, or are frightened when they are in the changed reality of psychosis. Others feel confused or delirious because of an infection, overdose, illicit drugs or intoxication with alcohol. Confusion may also be associated with dementia.

The crisis may be a sudden deterioration of an existing mental health problem, or a person may be experiencing mental health problems for the first time.

Acute emergencies

If you or someone you know experiences an acute emergency, you should call 999 and ask for the ambulance service or the police.


If you, a family member or friend require urgent care but it is not life threatening, you can call NHS 111.

You should call NHS 111 in the following circumstances:

  • if a person is experiencing a mental health problem for the first time
  • if a person with an existing mental health problem is suffering a relapse in their symptoms
  • if someone has self-harmed in a way that clearly does not immediately threaten their life, or is talking about wanting to self-harm
  • if a person shows signs of onset of dementia
  • if a young person leaves care
  • if a person is experiencing domestic violence or physical, sexual or emotional abuse

However, if you've already been given a Crisis Line number by your GP, or are under the care of a mental health team and have a specific care plan that states who to contact when you need urgent care, you should call them instead.

Contact Numbers

Acute Mental Health Team:

  • North area: 01256 817718
  • East area: 02392 344562
  • West area: 01962 897726
  • Southampton area: 07736 953423
  • Samaritans: 116 123
  • Southampton Social Services Single Point of Access: 023 8083 3003