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Choosing mental health services
One in four of us will experience some kind of mental health problem in any given year, and accessing mental health services can be stressful and cause additional worry. If you or a loved one need to use mental health services, you'll want to make sure they offer safe, compassionate and high-quality care.
If you are concerned about your mental health, you should first visit your GP.
Your GP will assess you and offer appropriate advice or treatment. They can refer you to a psychological treatment service or a specialist mental health service for further advice or treatment.
If you don't want to go to your GP.
Mental health services are free on the NHS but you will usually need a GP referral. If you don't want to go to your GP you may also have the option of self-referral. This means you can go directly to a professional therapist.
The NHS Choices website has a searchable directory of services to help you find a service near you.
If you are referred to a specialist mental health service, you can ask which other providers offer the same service in your local area and make a choice.
Read our inspection reports
To help you make a choice, you can check our inspection reports. You can look for our reports on your local services by using the search box at the top of this page.When we inspect services, we ask these five key questions:
- Is this service safe?
- Is this service effective?
- Is this service caring?
- Is this service responsive to people's needs?
- Is this service well-led?
We rate services on a four-point scale: outstanding, good, requires improvement, inadequate.
Share your experiences with us
We use information from the public and hold listening events across the country where you can talk to inspectors about your experience of services.
If you do have any concerns or worries about the care you receive, tell the service and also tell us – the information you give us will help us to monitor services and plan our inspections.
We also monitor use of the Mental Health Act.
As well as inspecting and rating services, we also check that patients' basic human rights are maintained while they are being cared for or treated under the Mental Health Act.
We visit patients who have been detained and those under community treatment orders and we also appoint Second Opinion Appointed Doctors (SOADs) who check whether the medication that patients receive is correct.
- Last updated:
- 29 May 2017