NHS 111

NHS 111 service

Patients can access the NHS 111 service if they feel they are in a mental health crisis. Just call 111 and select the mental health option.

If you need to access the crisis mental health line, listen carefully to the messages and follow the verbal instructions.

Physical health - urgent and emergency care

Choosing which service is right for you at a given time may not always be easy - often you have more than one option. Use the checklist below to guide you if you're not sure where to start.

Make an appointment with your GP if you are feeling unwell and it is not an emergency.

Ask your local pharmacist for advice for many common illnesses, such as diarrhoea, minor infections, headache, travel advice or sore throats.

Visit a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre if you have a minor illness or injury (cuts, sprains or rashes) and it can't wait until your GP surgery is open. CPFT runs three minor injuries units located at Wisbech, Doddington and Ely. For more information on the conditions they do and don't treat, as well opening times, please click here.

Call NHS 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice, but it's not a life-threatening situation. You can also call NHS 111 if you're not sure which NHS service you need. 

Call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

What to do in a mental health crisis

Call 111 and select the mental health option for the First Response Service - a 24-hour service for people in a mental health crisis. This service is for anyone, of any age, who is registered with a GP  in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough. Specially-trained mental health staff will speak to you and discuss with you your mental health care needs – instead of you having to go to accident and emergency departments of local acute hospitals.

You might be in crisis if:

  • You are thinking of hurting yourself or suicide seems the only option
  • Someone you know has made threats to hurt you or someone else.
  • You are experiencing extreme distress that seems overwhelming.

Understanding suicidal thoughts

Whatever the mental or physical health diagnosis, if the person you care for has talked about suicide it’s important you take them seriously. In a crisis, help is available 24/7 from the Samaritans on 116 123. In an emergency, call 999. The Zero Suicide Alliance offers free online suicide prevention training which takes just 20 minutes to complete. Offering the right type of support to someone who is feeling suicidal is crucial. LivingWorks, a leading provider of suicide-alertness training, advises following the acronym TALK:


Someone who is feeling suicidal will be telling you how they feel but perhaps not very directly so be aware of the signs and learn to read them. Do not dismiss them or trivialise them

A – ASK 

If you think someone is considering suicide always ask them. You can’t give them the idea of suicide simply by asking, and it is important that you do ask. If they say ‘no’ you haven’t lost anything, and if they say ‘yes’ you have a chance to help.


Don’t rush them or judge. Tell them ‘this is important’. Don’t try to offer solutions, just listen. Listening stops people feeling alone, gives hope and provides emotional release.


Don't promise secrecy, but don’t leave someone feeling suicidal on their own. Keep yourself and them safe.

Most people who feel suicidal simply want to end their pain, not their life. Many people who have had suicidal thoughts and/or made a suicide attempt look back later and say they are glad to have survived and that the right intervention at the right moment made all the difference. There is nothing inevitable about suicide. It is often a question of knowing how to help and supporting someone through a crisis. More help is also available from these organisations:

CALM Helpline is dedicated to preventing male suicide and offers confidential emotional support for men through their helpline. Telephone: 0800 58 58 58. Calls are free from landlines and most mobiles. Webchat (5pm-midnight)

Grassroots is a suicide prevention charity.

Maytree Sanctuary is open to anyone in a suicidal crisis for a one-off short stay in a safe place. The service is free and it is open to anyone in the UK. It offers a quiet place to reflect and time to talk in confidence. Telephone: 0207 263 7070

Papyrus Hope line UK is a national confidential helpline for young people at risk of suicide. Telephone: 0800 068 41 41

Samaritans  Call 116 123. This is a free 24-hour helpline and offers a safe place to talk.

STOP Suicide is an award-winning suicide prevention campaign which reaches across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. It is led by the charities Mind and Lifecraft in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Fenland.

The MindEd Trust is a Registered Charity which is focused on the prevention of mental illness in young people and early intervention strategies for those experiencing trauma.

CHUMS is a Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Service for children and Young People.

Who to contact if you need mental health support but it's not urgent

Between 9am-5pm, Monday–Friday

  • CPFT Care Co-ordinator: If you are already receiving support from CPFT services, the first point of contact should be your care co-ordinator or named nurse. Your care plan will contain information on how to contact them. If they are not available, ask to speak to the clinician on duty.
  • Your GP: If you need immediate help, then please contact your GP.

Out of hours

  • Lifeline: An out-of hours mental health telephone support service, run by Lifecraft, is available for CPFT’s service users who are experiencing a crisis in their mental health. The service is also available for carers who are concerned about the mental health of a service user. The out-of-hours telephone number is 0808 808 2121. This is weekdays 11am-11pm, 7 days a week.
  • Emergency doctor: All GP surgeries have an out-of-hours number that you can call in an emergency. The out-of-hours doctor may assess the situation over the phone, ask you to attend a clinic/service, or may come out to assess the service user. They will be able to arrange any necessary specialist assessments.
  • Local walk-in centre: Most centres are open 365 days a year and outside office hours. Some newly opened centres may offer different opening hours during their first few months.
  • Samaritans: If you feel you urgently need to speak to someone, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 116 123.
  • Police: If the person you care for is being violent, threatening or you feel at risk, you should contact the police directly by dialling 999

Patient advice and liaison service (PALS) 

  • The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) provides service users, their carers and families with help, information and support to resolve concerns quickly and efficiently. To find out more click here. Email PALS via pals@cpft.nhs.uk or call 0800 376 0775 (Office hours Monday to Friday)
As a patient

As a patient, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Patient Advice and Liaison service  Contact the Trust