Mental health problems can affect anyone at any time and one in four people will experience some form of mental illness.

There are many different types of mental health issues, from mild problems to more severe and enduring problems. Some examples include: Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, dementia; depression, eating disorders, grief and loss; schizophrenia, stress and trauma.

If you, a relative or a friend has a mental health problem, it can be treated and recovery rates are good. Your doctor or GP will be able to explain more about the various treatments available for mental health problems. GPs can also advise on the range of services available to support people in the community.

I need help now

Your doctor, or GP, should normally be the first person to contact. To find details of your local GP; and for a range of advice on mental health issues, see NHS - Mental Health.

If you are already supported by mental health services, you should try to contact your care co-ordinator. Your care plan should explain who to contact.

Alternatively you can contact a local mental health helpline, provided by Mental Health Matters. Its services are available even if you have not had mental health problems before. You can contact them on 0800 013 0626 between 5pm-9am on weekdays; 24 hours at weekends.

I'm worried someone may harm themselves or others

If you have serious concerns that someone's mental health is deteriorating and that they may be a risk to themselves or others, a request can be made for an assessment under the Mental Health Act 1983. This would assess whether someone requires compulsory treatment for their mental illness in hospital, or can be supported in another way and outside hospital.

All applications for such an assessment must be made by through an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) by contacting:

  • During office hours (Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5.15pm or Fridays from 8.30am to 4.45pm), please use the contact number on the right of this page, and ask about a Mental Health Act assessment.
  • At other times, please contact the out of hours service. Please state the reason for the call and ask to speak to an Approved Mental Health Professional.

I need help with day to day activities

The council may be able to help; to arrange for an assessment of your needs.

The Mental Capacity Act - if someone is unable to make decisions for themselves

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a statutory framework to empower and protect vulnerable people who are not able to make their own decisions. For further information please see the national government website's information about mental capacity and the law. The council has a service that assists where people may be unable to make financial decisions for themselves: for information about that see Planning ahead - your care and money. To ask about services in general please see the contact box on the right of this page.