Getting Help in an Emergency
If your mental health, or the mental health of the person you care for deteriorates, there are various forms of help available.
Care Programme Approach (CPA)
If you are being supported under the care programme approach, then your CPA care plan should include details of what to do if you become unwell or if the care arrangements break down. It is important that you are aware of what is recorded in the care plan and have the information you need to be able to act if necessary. Carers, if the person you support does not consent to your involvement in the CPA, you should still be provided with crisis contact details if necessary.
Contact the duty team (usually 9am –5pm) at the local community mental health services; they will assess the situation and help you manage it. They may arrange a visit, or ask you to go the nearest accident and emergency department for further assessment and support.
Out of Hours
This service is often provided from 5pm to 11pm. The aim is to respond to urgent and crisis situations, which appear to be unable to wait until the following day.
Accident and Emergency
In an emergency you can always go to the accident and emergency department at your local hospital. They will be able to assess your mental state and treat accordingly. In most accident and emergency departments a psychiatric liaison nurse is available.
An advance directive (also known as an advance statement, advance refusal or living will) is a way of making a person's views known if he or she should become mentally ill and incapable of giving consent to treatment. They can also state what treatment or support works for you when unwell and who should be contacted eg your carer. This kind of preparation can help you, your carer and the care co-ordinator, through what may be a difficult time.
Further details on Advance Directives can be found on the MIND website, click here to access the MIND website.
Carers Advanced Plans
It is becoming more usual for carers to have advanced plans regarding what support should be provided for the person they support if they are unable to continue to provide care ie unexpectedly admitted to hospital.
These advanced plans can help the carer prepare for, and ensure that the person they support is not left to deal with any unexpected events on their own. Involving other family members, or your GP, can also be helpful. These can be written down with the support of the care co-ordinator. It is important to discuss these plans with the person you care for or support.
Carers UK provides information for carers on crisis planning, click here to visit their website.