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What to do in an Emergency

If there is an emergency, you may need to get help quickly, either for yourself or for someone else. This chapter tells you how to do that.

If it is an emergency, your GP can arrange for a psychiatrist to visit you in your own home or you can phone the Slam 24 Hour information line on 0800 731 2864 and they can refer you to the appropriate service. There is also a psychiatrist on duty 24 hours a day at Croydon University Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit, and anyone can walk in and ask to see the duty psychiatrist.

If you prefer not to see a doctor, you can call The Samaritans . They have a 24-hour telephone service to help people who feel suicidal, desperate or distressed. Telephone 08457 90 90 90 for National or 020 8681 6666 for Croydon.

The Liaison Mental Health Service provides a service only to the District General Hospital (Croydon University Hospital). However, people presenting to the Accident and Emergency Department at CUH can access mental health services 24 hours a day by seeing a duty psychiatric Liaison Practitioner or a duty psychiatrist. Unfortunately this often involves long waits. This service can also be accessed out of normal hours through your GP.

The five Community Mental Health Teams provide a crisis response service between the hours of 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. This service is accessible by yourself or your carer, offering help in a hurry.

Out of hours you can contact the emergency duty team at Bernard Weatherill House on 0208 726 6000 who have access to the duty Approved Mental Health Professional (formerly Approved Social worker)

What if I need to get help for someone else?
If you need to get help urgently for someone else, a relative or friend perhaps, you should contact their GP or, alternatively, you can get help from the Social Services Department on 020 8726 6500. Out of hours, an Emergency Duty Team (EDT) operates, and you should telephone Bernard Weatherill House 020 8726 6000. A Security Officer will answer. Say that you need to speak to the EDT coordinator and give a telephone number at which you can be contacted. The EDT coordinator will then phone you back. Explain the situation to the EDT coordinator and he/she will decide on the most appropriate way to help.

You may be referred to an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) formerly Approved Social Worker (ASW) , one who has special training and experience in mental health problems and is authorised to carry out duties under the Mental Health Act. If you are the person's nearest relative, you have the right to ask an AMHP to consider making an application for compulsory admission to hospital (See chapter on In-Patient Hospital Care), and to receive written reasons if admission is not considered appropriate.


Related Information

Related Factsheets

Service Definitions

Services providing advice and information relating to all aspects of mental health.
Organisations required by law to govern and serve the field of mental health.
When a person is feeling suicidal they can also feel very self-destructive. The meaning is as follows: Suicide (from Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the act of intentionally ending one's own life; it is sometimes a noun for one who has committed, or attempted the act.

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