Getting help in a mental health crisis

A mental health crisis is when someone feels at 'breaking point'.  A mental health crisis disrupts usual thought patterns, mood, daily activities and feelings. People in crisis will usually need urgent help.

Alert Urgent

If you are concerned about yourself, or someone else, please use the information below to find the right place to get help. If your life - or someone else's life - is in immediate danger, please call 999

Call NHS 111 and select the mental health option

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, or are concerned about someone who is, please dial 111 and select the mental health option to help you get the support you need. 

  • Not sure what help you need? Try our interactive flow chart which includes some simple questions to help you decide.
  • Here are some other ways you can get help with your mental health:

Text SUSSEX to 85258 

If you are struggling to cope and need to talk, you can text the word SUSSEX to 85258. This free, confidential, anonymous text support service is available 24/7 and is led by volunteers who have been trained to have a conversation and can support you to get to a calmer place.

If you are worried about your mental health or that of a relative or friend, please call NHS 111 and select the mental health option. This is a free 24/7 mental health telephone support and information service for anyone who may be in crisis and in need of help with their mental health. This service is also known locally as the Sussex Mental Healthline. 

Our Staying Well services provide extra support for when you feel you need it. You can contact and refer yourself directly to the service. Find your nearest Staying Well service.  

The Samaritans is a free service which is available 24/7. When you call, a volunteer will answer the phone. They will listen to you and help you talk through you concerns, worries or troubles. Find out more about the Samaritans


There are several apps to support people who are experiencing mental health challenges. 

StayAlive app

If you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide, you may find the StayAlive app helpful.  Download it from the Apple App store or Google Play. 

You may also find the following apps and online community helpful for your mental health and wellbeing: 

Mind Out

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, you can get online support to help you with your mental health from the charity Mind Out.

Do you currently receive care from one of our services? 

If you or the person you are concerned about currently receives care from one of our services, such as a community mental health team, please get in touch with the specialist team as soon as possible. You can refer to the care plan for advice. This will also contain contact details for the team supporting the person in crisis.

What is a mental health crisis? 

Experiencing a mental health crisis can look different for different people but it can include:

  • Being at risk of harm to self or others
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Flashbacks or nightmares of past experiences
  • Feeling suicidal
  • Feelings of wanting to self-harm, or acting on these feelings 
  • Feeling extremely high, fearing others want to harm you, or hearing voices
  • Withdrawing from friends and family 
  • Difficulties with communication
  • Not being able to think about other things

A mental health crisis can occur because of triggers such as bereavement, addiction, relationship breakdown, work related stress, exams - anything that can heighten stress and can feel like a lot to deal with. Someone might have an existing mental health condition and experience a mental health crisis, or it can be something they have never experienced before. It is usually very frightening for the person experiencing the crisis and those around them.