This briefing explores good practice in crisis and acute services in mental health care, with a focus on what Clinical Commissioning Groups should look for when commissioning such services. Crisis and acute services are a crucial part of mental health care, helping people when they are most unwell and vulnerable. There are two main components – crisis resolution and home treatment teams and inpatient services. However, a wider range of community provision can help make sure that everyone in mental health crisis gets the help they need at the right time.
Mind’s independent inquiry, Listening to experience, found that excellent care exists, but that too often people are turned away and struggle to get help. In some places, inpatient wards are not safe or therapeutic. In some places, inpatient wards are not safe or therapeutic. This briefing outlines what Clinical Commissioning Groups should pay attention to when commissioning acute and crisis care, including ensuring that such care: is humane, compassionate and respectful; is easily accessible for people in crisis; has enough skilled staff to provide a timely, effective and sensitive response; offers a level and mix of services that meet the crisis needs of all the communities in the local population; works to prevent mental health problems developing or worsening and to promote recovery in collaboration with the wider system of mental health care services.