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Getting help with a mental health crisis

Recently we’ve seen more young people attending A&E because of mental health issues. 

There are times when it’s right for young people with mental health issues to go to A&E, such as if they need emergency medical attention because of life threatening concerns. 

A&E is not always the best place for a young person who has mental health needs. It can create more anxiety and distress for them. There are other ways of getting help so that they receive the most appropriate support for their individual needs. 

Many young people’s mental health needs are best supported by community services, such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, and they don’t need to go to A&E.  

A young person should only be taken to A&E (or call for an ambulance) if they require urgent life-threatening emergency medical attention such as if they have: 

  • Recently taken an overdose
  • Ingested harmful liquids
  • Cut themselves significantly (deep cut/s and/or bleeding profusely)
  • Burns that are blistering/red
  • Lost consciousness 

If no medical intervention is required but you require urgent advice about a young person’s mental health and risk, call NHS 111.  

NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent physical or mental health problem and you’re not sure what to do. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for people who need help fast, but it is not an emergency.

Crisis Tools is a helpful resource containing learning guides to increase knowledge and confidence for anyone supporting young people in a mental health crisis.

Visit our CAMHS pages for more information and support on children and young people’s mental health.