How to get help if you are very unwell

"Having my family visit me, or writing or phoning me, helps my recovery."

A patient, St Andrew’s Northampton

If your mental health suddenly worsens you should still be able to participate as fully as you want in decisions about your treatment and care.

All of our services will take your needs and choices into account at every stage, but must also keep you and others safe. The only time you can be treated against your wishes is if you are sectioned under certain parts of the Mental Health Act.

Worsening mental health could include:

  • suicidal behaviour or intention
  • panic attacks/extreme anxiety
  • psychotic episodes (loss of sense of reality, hallucinations, hearing voices)
  • other behaviour that seems out of control or irrational and that is likely to endanger yourself or others.

These types of situation can also be described as ‘acute’ and require access to ‘acute’ services.


Care Programme Approach (CPA)

Patients at St Andrew’s follow the Care Programme Approach (CPA). This means every patient has a care plan, which should include a crisis plan that says:

  • who is responsible for addressing elements of care and support
  • who to contact
  • what needs to happen if the patient’s health gets worse
  • the services  that have worked well in the past
  • the name of a person who the patient has previously responded well to in times of crisis
  • other options in case the patient’s first choice of treatment is not available.

You should be given a copy of your plan and, if you agree, your carer(s) will also be given a copy. This should help make sure that any urgent decision about your care here is handled in a way that is acceptable to you.

If you can't find your care plan, or if you are a patient on leave from St Andrew’s, please call your unit.


Emotional support

Whether you are a patient a carer, friend or family member, if you would like to talk to someone about your problems, you can find details of sources of emotional support on the other useful information and groups page. These include:

Samaritans  Tel: 08457 90 90 90  Email: Web:
Sane Line  Tel: 0845 767 8000  Web:
Counselling Directory:

If you are interested in private therapy with highly experienced psychiatrists, see