The Crisis Centre is open 24 hours a day 365 days of the year and provides community based, emotional and practical support at times of crisis. It is a service for people who are aged 16 and over who are using or have used mental health services and are resident in the City of Edinburgh when they are facing a crisis. This includes people who have seen their GP, used voluntary services and people who identify themselves as having  a mental health issue. Over 2000 people contact the Centre each year, over half have made contact for the first time.

Carers of people who have mental health issues can also fully access all the services at the Crisis Centre.

We don’t define crisis and are led by what the crisis means to the individual person at that time. In 2004 the Scottish Development Centre for Mental Health worked with Service Users and identified the following areas as important for the Crisis Centre to offer support:

  • Feeling suicidal
  • Actively selfharming
  • Having psychotic experiences
  • Reacting to extreme stress such as physical or sexual abuse
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Financial worries, and
  • Relationship problems, i.e. with family, friends or neighbour

The Crisis Centre has a free phone telephone help line as well as face-to-face support and access to a wide  range of information. When the person feels ready staff can support them with computer access to a database of local statutory and community resources to inform the development of  their crisis plan. The Centre aims to give people an alternative to hospital and as well as working with people facing an acute crisis will work with them in a preventative way.

The Free-Phone Help Line:

The Free phone receives over 10,000 calls a year and is available 24 hours a day. Trained staff and volunteers give emotional support and work with callers towards reducing feelings of distress. At the Centre we believe people have strengths and can develop ways to deal with crisis. People using the Service are the experts in their own lives and staff are led by what the crisis means to them. Staff will support the caller to identify strategies they may already have to help them with the crisis and to develop a short-term crisis plan identifying informal support and local community based formal support. Where unmet needs are identified staff and volunteers will signpost callers to relevant community and statutory services. It is important to know staff at the Crisis Centre will not recommend services but provide information to assist the caller to make informed choices. Everyone using the Crisis Centre is encouraged to share their crisis plan with carers, friends and professionals working with them.

Collecting Information

This service is confidential and all information collected about callers is kept securely at the Crisis Centre and is used for data collection and staff training. We create a written record of the callers contact with us. You can use the telephone help line service anonymously.

Sharing Information:

Each month 25% of the people calling the helpline have experienced thoughts about suicide. Staff and volunteers are trained with the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) and work with people towards their safety usually maintaining confidentiality. The Crisis Centre’s aim is to prevent suicide and there are times when it is necessary to share relevant identifying information with statutory services, if a callers life is at immediate risk or if a child or vulnerable adult is being abused.

Support at the Crisis Centre:

Face to face support can be arranged with the Crisis Centre via the free phone helpline. We have a harm minimisation policy at the Centre and staff will work with people to reduce the risk of injury. Self harming behaviour does not prevent people from accessing the Centre and everyone will be met with non judgmental, compassionate understanding.

Professionals can help people to get in touch with the Crisis Centre on the free phone number. Any other professional inquiries should be directed to 0131 561 0086.

The Crisis Centre is a part of Mental Health and Social Care Services in Edinburgh and has effective working relationships with colleagues across all sectors.

Our leaflets can be printed off from our main page.  Our Open Day events are listed in the ‘News’ section of our webiste.

Please call Nick Bell or Lee Kruszyna on 0131 561 0086 if you would like further information.