Getting help and support for mental health problems

Mental Health Services across Lancashire are delivered in partnership by the NHS, social care services and the voluntary sector.

Help in an emergency

If you feel very distressed and unable to keep yourself safe, (you may be having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself) and need immediate help, ring 999 or go to your local A&E department if you are able to.

If you are able to wait there are community-based services that can help:

Your doctor is usually the starting point to get help with a mental health problem. Doctors can prescribe medication or refer you to talking treatments, and may be able to refer you to a voluntary or social care service in your area.

If your doctor feels your needs are severe or complex, you may be referred to a more specialist service, such as Single Point of Access (SPoA) which provides a single point of access into Adult Mental Health Services (aged 16+). The services provide assessment, triage and sign posting for new referrals into services.

Your doctor may refer you even if you do not think you need help at the moment.

For more information about support available to you in a crisis see The Mind guide to crisis services.

Help yourself

Our Public Health Service offer some very useful information about managing your mental health and wellbeing.

Some voluntary organisations such as local Minds, also provide mental health services through self-referral, which means you can contact them directly yourself. Find out more about the role of people working in mental health services.

GOV.UK offers information to help when a mental health condition becomes a disability.

Help to find a job or stay in work

Unemployment is associated with social exclusion, which has a number of adverse effects, including reduced wellbeing and a greater incidence of self-harm, depression and anxiety.

Working has been proven to be good for our mental health. To be employed and make a positive contribution to society can improve our quality of life and provide us with money to support ourselves.

If you are working age and have a goal of 16 hours or more paid employment per week our employment support service may be able to help.

When mental health affects the ability to make decisions

Every day, people make decisions about lots of things in their lives. The ability to make decisions is called mental capacity. People may have difficulties making some decisions either all or some of the time. This could be because they have a learning disability, dementia, a mental health problem, or could be the result of a head injury or a stroke or a temporary condition such as an illness, accident or the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out the legal rights for supporting and protecting vulnerable people who are not able to make their own decisions. It makes clear who can take decisions, in which situations, and how they should go about this. It also allows people to plan ahead for a time when they may lose capacity. It affects families, carers, health and social care staff, and other people who have contact with people who lack capacity. It could cover decisions about financial matters, social care, medical treatment and research arrangements, as well as everyday decisions about personal care.

The Deprivation of Liberty safeguards (DOLS) have been introduced into the Mental Capacity Act 2005 by the Mental Health Act 2007. The safeguards apply to people who have a mental disorder and lack capacity to consent to the arrangements made for their care or treatment, but for whom receiving care or treatment in circumstances that amount to a deprivation of liberty may be necessary to protect them from harm and appears to be in their best interests. This may apply to people who are living in a care home or a supported living arrangement.

Under the Mental Health Act people with a mental health problem or learning disability who could pose a risk to themselves or to others may be detained and treated in a hospital.