Right here, right now: Mental health crisis care review

Published: 8 April 2015 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

Photo of a man standing in a crowd

Attitudes to mental health are changing fast. In the last four years it is estimated that two million people have developed a more positive attitude towards mental illness. But there is still a long way to go until a person experiencing a mental health crisis receives the same response as someone with a physical health emergency.

Cover of Right here, right now: mental health crisis care review

In this report, we review the quality, safety and effectiveness of care provided to those experiencing a mental health crisis. We have put people at the heart of the issue and sought to understand whether people were being offered the right care, at the right time, and if they were being given the information they needed, as well as what they felt about the attitudes of those providing help, care and support.

Our findings show that there are clear variations in the help, care and support available to people in crisis and that a person’s experience depends not only on where they live, but what part of the system they come into contact with.

We asked people to share their experiences with us. What they told us presents a challenge for everyone responsible for ensuring people in crisis receive the best possible help, care and support. Commissioners, providers and those delivering services must all recognise the role they have to play in providing the right kind of services and making sure that they are accessible at the times when people need them.

Our report demonstrates a real weakness in mainstream mental health provision as regards 24 hour crisis care. In some cases, the only recourse for people trying to access crisis services is to a phone line telling them to go to their local emergency department.

Dr Paul Lelliott

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What this means for...


What our report means for people who use services, their relatives and carers.


What our report means for people and organisations who provide services.


What our report means for people and organisations who commission services.

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Some of the report's findings

Only 14% of people who told us about their experience of crisis felt the care they received was right and helped resolve their crisis

Peak hours for self-harm admissions are between 11:00pm and 05:00am

More than 3 in 10 people receiving community mental health care do not know who to contact outside of working hours if they have a crisis.

Over 400 people were in emergency mental health beds situated more than 50km from their home

People admitted via A&E for mental health conditions are more likely to return to A&E within 30 days of being discharged than those admitted via A&E for any other health condition

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