* If you’re experiencing a serious mental health event, it’s vital that you seek support *

The coronavirus lockdown (currently Tier 5) does not prohibit people from seeking assistance if there is a medical emergency. Mental health incidents often require support, and if you need to leave home to find safety, then do so.

Exactly what kind of assistance you should seek depends on your circumstances.

I'm suicidal

999 - If you’re at risk of harming yourself, or taking your own life, you should call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance. Accident and Emergency departments are still available for people at risk of suicide, and have teams of people who will ensure your safety. Don’t hesitate to call them because of the current COVID crisis - your life matters, and if you’re in danger, then NHS staff are there to help.

Samaritans - Whatever your situation, the Samaritans run a confidential phone line 24/7 manned by volunteers who will listen to you. It’s not religious organisation and they won’t contact the emergency services without your express permission.

Samaritans UK - 116 123

Samaritans ROI - 116 123

SwitchboardYou may feel more comfortable talking to someone who is LGBTQ+. In which case, you can contact LGBT Switchboard. The service is operated by LGBTQ+ people who may better understand what you’re going through. They're there to talk from 10am - 10pm, 365 days a year.

Switchboard - 0300 330 0630 

I need to leave home for support

The government's current coronavirus lockdown rules permit leaving home in certain circumstances. It's up to you to assess whether these apply to you and your current situation. Exceptions allowing for people to leave home outside of the usual (food shopping, exercise etc) include the following:

  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to attend a support group (of up to 15 people)
  • to visit people in your support bubble
  • for medical appointments and for emergencies
  • to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse)

If you're suicidal, this almost certainly classes as avoiding injury or illness. If you're in crisis, but not suicidal, then the rules are less clear. If possible, try your hardest to abide by the spirit of the rules, which means not visiting friends outside of your household or support bubble indoors. This doesn't mean you can't go for a walk together, however. If you live alone and haven't yet formed a support bubble, consider forming one with another household. The government also widened eligibility for support bubbles late last year. For instance if you're aged 16 or 17 and living with others of the same age and without any adults, you can form a support bubble.

I'm having a different crisis

Crisis Team - If you're struggling to cope, you can contact your local mental health crisis team. These support people who would usually go to hospital when experiencing, for example, psychosis or feelings of self harm. They can visit you in your own home, administer medication, offer coping strategies, and help you plan your self care to try and prevent your mental health declining again. Mind has an excellent information page explaining what crisis teams are, and how you can access them. 

There are specialist LGBTQ+ support services you can contact:

MindOut - LGBTQ+ mental health charity MindOut offers an online support service most evenings from 5:30-7:30pm, and on Sundays from 2-4pm. They can listen to how you’re feeling, and help you think about ways in which you can stay safe.

Full hours and availability can be found here.

Mindline Trans+ - Here to listen and offer support, Mindline Trans+ is helpline dedicated to trans and gender nonconforming people. It's support line is open from Monday and Fridays, 8pm-12am on 0300 330 5468.

LGBT Foundation - Based in Manchester but with a reach much further, LGBT Foundation runs and advice and support line on 0345 3 30 30 30. It's a confidential, non-judgmental service where you can talk about your current situation with a friendly, trained LGBTQ+ person. The line is open weekdays 9am until 9pm and weekends 10am until 6pm.