Mental Health Care and Psychiatric Care Services in the UK

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

A Guide to the care services (Care in the Community) and organisations for people suffering mental health problems in the UK

It is estimated that one in four people will encounter a mental health problem of some kind during there lives and one in six do so at any one time. GPs say stress and mental health issues are the biggest health issue they will treat each year.

The NHS and social services

As part of the Care Programme Approach, teams of specialists work with people with mental illness to agree the programme of care that they need. The patient is supported by their own key worker and both users and carers are involved in the process as much as possible. The teams are made up of professionals from the NHS and social services and may include psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists as well as workers from voluntary organisations.

Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPN) are trained in counselling as well as caring, rehabilitation and medication supervision to support individuals and often their families at home.

Social workers are able to assess mental health problems, understand how social circumstances affect them and advise, help and support individuals and their families.

Psychologists work in partnership with individual people, groups and staff to develop an understanding and treatment of problems.

Psychiatrists are doctors whose specialist training equips them to assess and treat mental disorders using therapy and drugs.

Occupational therapists can help people develop the skills they need to live independently and to get back to or cope with work.

Where your treated

There is now a broad range of settings where people can find support and treatment. Psychiatric services used to be provided only in hospitals or out-patient departments. Now, when mentally ill people need short-term hospital care, they can often receive it locally, usually in the District General Hospital. When they need longer-term care, homely surroundings can now be provided which balances a person’s need for independence with individual support.

At home where possible, help and support are provided by the mental health team in the home of the mentally ill person.

Day hospitals provide an alternative to in-patient care even for people who are quite ill. People attend during the day, returning home at night.

Acute units when patients are particularly unwell, a psychiatric unit’s protective environment helps treat them and re-establish them in the community. They can also be places of sanctuary for vulnerable patients and offer respite to carers.

Community Mental health and Resource Centres Some areas have a local base where people can meet members of the community mental health team.

Other centres which meet long-term needs include; day centres, drop-in centres, group homes/flats, residential care homes, nursing homes (some of which may involve a charge).

Your GP is the first person who can provide help for you or a relative and, if necessary put you in touch with the community mental health team or a voluntary organisation.

Your social services department is an alternative first step, if you wish. Ask for a mental health worker.


Alzheimer’s Society is a membership organisation, which works to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.Their members have personal experience of dementia, as carers, health professionals or people with dementia themselves, and their experiences help to inform their work.
Alzheimer’s Society
Devon House
58 St Katherine’s Way
London E1W 1JX
Phone: 020 7423 3500
Fax: 020 7423 3501

Alzheimer’s Scotland – Action on Dementia
Provide the National Dementia Helpline, the website ( and local services all over Scotland for people with dementia and their carers. Local services may include:

  • day centres providing the chance to socialise and enjoy activities and outings, and giving carers a break (some centres open in the evenings and at weekends too)
  • home support services providing company and help to maintain skills and independence at home, while the carer is free to go out (sometimes this is also available overnight)
  • drop-in centres where people with dementia and carers can socialise
  • support groups for carers and for people with dementia
  • carer education helping carers learn more about the illness and how to cope
  • one-to-one support to help people with dementia and their families cope with the illness
  • welfare rights service
  • information and advice on a wide range of subjectAlzheimer Scotland
    22 Drumsheugh Gardens
    EH3 7RN
    Phone: 0131 243 1453, fax: 0131 243 1450

BiPolar UK ( formely The Manic Depression Fellowship) provides support, advice and information for people with manic depression, their families, friends and carers. There are regional offices in Greater London, Wales, Manchester and Scotland, and a network of self-help groups. Telephone: 0333 323 3880
Postal address:
11 Belgrave Road, London,
Tel: 020 7931 6480
United Kingdom

MIND is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales, and works for a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress. Activities include: an information line, a legal advice line, a legal network, a variety of publications (over 100 of which are available on-line), the bi-monthly OpenMind magazine, a conferences and training programme. Mind has more than 200 affiliated local associations providing a range of mental health services – from housing and day centres to self-help and advocacy groups. Mindinfoline: 0845 766 0163.
PO Box 277
M60 3XN

Social Anxiety Support – Support for those who suffer from social anxiety disorder (social phobia).

UK & Ireland Directory of Counselling and Psychotherapy
A directory listing counsellors and psychotherapists in the UK.
Useful resource for those seeking emotional support or emotional
healing. Searchable on region, town, postcode, agency or practitioner name.
Searches can be refined to help find a suitable practitioner based on factors such as skills, way of working or organisational accreditation.

Rethink (registerd as National Schizophrenia Fellowship (NSF) is the national voluntary organisation for people with severe mental illness, their families and carers. It has over 7,000 members, 170 local carer and user support groups and 300 community care projects, ranging from drop-in centres and accommodation schemes to employment initiatives.
Rethink general enquiries:
Telephone: 0845 456 0455
National advice service:
Telephone: 0207 840 3188

Hypnotherapy Directory
This website is a support network of UK hypnotherapists, with information on their training and experience, areas of hypnotherapy, fees and contact details. This service is free, confidential and easy to use.

Mental Health in Further Education (MHFE)
An organisation open to anyone who has an interest in mental health and adult learning.


Richmond Fellowshipis one of the biggest providers of mental health care in the country. They work with hundreds of people who are living with the effects of serious mental health problems, often exacerbated by issues such as sexual abuse, or drugs and alcohol. RF helps people to gain a new sense of purpose and fulfilment, making a real contribution to the lives of service users.

Head Office/ General enquiries
80 Holloway Road,
N7 8JG
Tel: 020 7697 3300
Fax: 020 7697 3301


SANE campaigns for greater awareness and understanding of serious mental illness, pioneers new care projects and funds research. Its helpline, SANELINE, is run by trained volunteers offering emotional support to people suffering from mental illness, their families, friends and interested professionals. Meeting the Challenge of Mental Illness
SANELINE 0845 767 8000 (6pm – 11pm every day)

Scottish Association for Mental Health is Scotland’s national organisation addressing the development of services for mental health and mental illness and providing information and education on issues.
Cumbrae House
15 Carlton Court
G5 9JP
telephone: 0141 568 7000

Calm Clinic
A well researched website guide on the topics of Anxiety,Depression,Stress and Panic Disorder:
https://www.calmclinic.c om/