Sunday, 1 February 2015

January blues: Crisis Teams

Ok it's technically not January anymore but I've been working on this post for a while and it follows on from my last post on accessing urgent help. Actually I have a few more mental health posts in various draughts but I am planning to publish them in May now, as part of mental health awareness month. As I want to start a new mini series for this month (details coming soon.)

I think the fear with having a mental health crisis (as defined in my previous post) is that you will end up locked away and sectioned under the mental health act. And while some people will, the shortage of beds and the advance of more community based care means there are more options available. The decision to section a patient is a serious one and there are strict procedures in place to do so. And in act the majority of patients at inpatient facilities for mental illnesses are not sectioned and are there voluntarily. And likewise with people in eating disorder units only some will be sectioned.

However in most cases there are other options available. In this post I'm going to be talking about an option that is available for care and treatment for those more severely affected by their mental health.

If you have sought support through you're GP or seen a psychiatrist following a trip to A&E in a crisis then they may make a referral for a community or crisis team.

Crisis teams or home treatment teams as they are also called (there are also other names depending on your area) are designed to help patients in crisis without them being admitted to a psychiatric unit. They often refer to themselves as a ward within the community. And offer treatment to patients within their own home. Meaning that patients can live in their own comfortable and familiar surroundings (where it is safe for them to do so) but still receive all the benefits of regular contact and treatment. This can be daily or every other day or even once a week depending on the level of support you need. Every area should have a crisis team or home treatment team. And they can be accessed through referral by your GP or hospital after an assessment. Or you may be referred to them as part of your intergration after being in a mental health unit.

Following an assessment by the crisis team you will be allocated a mental health nurse or team who will be familiar with your case. On your first visit, or on other visits, you may also be seen by a psychiatrist, especially for medication reviews or to be prescribed any new medication.

Together with the team you will develop a care plan to help you overcome your crisis; in which you identify the key areas in which you need help in order to function more normally again and manage your day to day life. This can include medication, relaxation techniques, CBT, distraction techniques, ways of controlling anxiety and self harm. As well as who to contact if you are in desperate need of help.

Depending on your situation they can also help with more specific problems that have arisen due to your mental health and help you to access services that could be beneficial. These could be help for mental health problems as a result of alcholism or drug abuse. But also more basic needs too. MIND have produced the following list of examples:

managing money, such as budgeting or paying the bills

housework, such as cleaning, cooking or shopping

using local services, such as peer support groups, employment services, or day centres

transport, such as using a taxi, minibus or bus pass to attend appointments or services

managing relationships, such as relationships with friends, family or neighbours

aids and adaptations to your home or help with mobility issues

personal care, such as washing or dressing

benefits and housing, such as help with applications, attending appointments or getting advice or information

accessing or staying in training, education or employment

support from a specialist social worker or support worker

For cases of social anxiety your team can help you intergrate and manage social situations. This may be through exposure therapy; taking you out and helping you to put into practice coping stratergies you develop with your team, whilst having the safety of a team to help you through it.

At times with this care you have to be prepared to put in a lot of effort and hard work in order to help yourself to get better. And it can be frustrating. However it is an investment in your health and wellbeing and you deserve to find that peace. For more information about crisis teams and the role they play visit MIND's dedicated page. You can also find out what services are available in your area through your GP, council website or local MIND service.

I hope that this series of posts has been beneficial to either yourself or someone that you care about and if not now, then perhaps it will in the future. Mental illness can be a very lonely place, and one that it can be very hard to recognise that you need help, or even to physically form the words to ask for it and try and put the whirlwind of thoughts into logical sentences. Recognising that you need help is a huge step forward, and one that can be difficult to take. However in doing so you are opening yourself up to the world of help that is out there. Help that you probably didn't know about. Take it, use it and regain yourself in the process. 

Like I said I will be reposting more mental health related posts in May. If you have any suggestions for posts you would like to see, or would like to share your story through a guest blog post then please get in touch.

Take care everyone



  1. It's so good that you're raising awareness for mental health Sian, this is a brilliant post as you've explained it all so well! Looking forward to reading more of your posts on the topic x

    1. Thank you Lauren. Glad you've liked this mini series. It's an important topic. And one close to my heart. xx

    2. It's extremely important, especially as it's still a taboo subject half of the time! One close to my heart too, I was thinking about writing a blogpost on it actually but I chickened out hahah x

  2. I've been planning this series for a while but wanted to make sure I'd done plenty of research first as it's so sensitive. I think some people were suprised when I posted my first one in this series as it was quite personal but I didn't mind sharing as I've got to a point where I can talk about it and not feel ashamed or embarrassed but it all depends what you're comfortable with. Maybe you'll be able to post something in May for awareness month but it doesn't have to be anything too personal. Thank you for your support. X