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Getting Help

NELFT Mental Health Direct

NELFT Mental Health Direct is a telephone helpline service available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

If you live in Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, or Havering, you can call for mental health help and advice anytime of the day or night.

We can arrange for you to speak with a mental health professional. We can also advise you about what service to contact to get the support you need.


Calls from a BT landline are the cost of a local call. Calls from other landlines and mobile providers will vary and may cost more.


If you need someone to talk to urgently and in confidence — the Samaritans are able to offer emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. In the UK dial 08457 90 90 90, for the cost of a local call, or alternatively visit their website at

I'm worried about my mental health, should I get help?

People are often worried about getting help, and don't know where to start. It's worth remembering these facts:

  • About a third of us will have a mental health problem at some time in our lives.
  • Depression and anxiety are as common as many physical problems, like diabetes and heart disease.
  • As with physical problems, there are things you can do to help yourself.

Who should I visit first?

A good place to start is your GP. Up to one in five people who visit their GP are suffering from a mental health problem, so GPs are used to helping with this sort of difficulty. The GP may be able to help you straight away. They may prescribe some medicine or just give you support. They may suggest some form of self help using local resources, perhaps through exercise therapy. The GP's will also have a wide range of counselling and advice programmes that they may refer you to.

What if I don't want to talk to my GP?

If you don't feel able to talk to your GP, there are many other people you could contact:

What happens if my GP feels I need specialist help?

If you and your GP feel you need more specialist help, they may refer you to another professional or a group of professionals. He or she will write to this person telling them about the difficulties you are having and they will contact you with an appointment. Bear in mind that there may be a waiting list.

What should I do if I'm unhappy with my GP?

If you are unhappy with your own GP, you can ask to see another doctor within the same practice or can visit a different practice within your area. If you are unsure where to find other doctor's surgeries, look in your local Yellow Pages or visit which allows you to search for your nearest Doctors, Opticians, Dentists and Pharmacies.

What if I'm too ill to visit my GP?

Your GP — out of hours it is likely to be someone else — will visit you at home if necessary. A doctor can be asked to make a home visit and cannot refuse to visit a registered patient in need of such help as long as the patient is staying at an address within the doctor's practice area.

What if I'm not registered with a GP?

If you are not registered with a local doctor and you need treatment in an emergency, then any GP must see you as soon as possible, as long as you are staying at an address within the GP's practice area. However, this only applies to real emergencies, in which someone is seriously ill or at immediate risk of harming themselves or others.

What can I do if the person is very ill and does not want help?

If they won't see their GP because they don't agree that they need help and their condition is deteriorating to the point where carers and relatives become very concerned this is precisely the sort of situation in which a GP home visit should be requested. If the patient still refuses to see the GP, in their own home, and the GP forms the impression that this is because the patient is experiencing a mental health problem, the GP may ask for a psychiatrist and social worker to try to see the patient, with a view to bringing them into hospital for a period of assessment. If the patient is still resistant at this stage, they may be brought into hospital against their wishes under the Mental Health Act (1983).

What if the surgery is closed or I can't contact my GP and it is an emergency?

In a crisis and exceptional circumstances and where a referral through the GP is not possible an Initial Screening Assessment appointment can be carried out by the Redbridge Access and Assessment Team which you can call on 0844 600 108.

If you live in Redbridge these are other useful numbers in an emergency:

  • NELFT Mental Health Direct:
  • Local Police Station:
  • NHS Direct:
  • Out of Hours Duty Social Worker
    (Ilford Town Hall):
  • Redbridge Night Shelter:
  • Samaritans:
  • Victim Support:

If all else fails then:

  • Go to A & E
  • Or Call for an ambulance.

What if I don't want to speak to someone in the medical or social care system?

You may prefer to speak to someone outside the medical/social care system. There are many local and national organisations which provide free and confidential helplines, advice and support services. Some also run online forums, where you can talk to a range of other people, day or night. You can find details of some of these organisations in our info directory.

What practical steps can I take to improve my mental health?

Find a friend

You may find it helpful to talk to your partner, a relative or a friend about your problems. They may be concerned about you and welcome the opportunity to hear what you have to say. If there is no-one close you may prefer to talk to someone else you can trust, like a teacher or a spiritual advisor.

Eat a balanced diet and drink sensibly

Improving your diet can protect against feelings of anxiety and depression.

Maintain close relationships

Close relationships affect how we feel — so nurture them and if there is a problem within a relationship, try and resolve it.

Take exercise

The effects of exercise on mood are immediate. Whether it is a workout in the gym or a simple walk or bike ride, it can be uplifting. Exercise can also be great fun socially.


Sleep has both physical and mental benefits. Physically it is the time when the body can renew its energy store but sleep also helps us to rebuild our mental energy.

Ask for help when you need it

The longer you leave a problem, the worse it will get. Don't be scared to ask for help from a family member, friend or professional.

Remember, work isn't everything

Ninety one million working days a year are lost to mental ill-health in the UK so take it easy.

Find out how to complain if you are not receiving adequate services

If you feel you have not been listened to properly, that you have been treated unfairly or that you are not being given access to the services you need — then you may wish to complain.

A useful starting point is your Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at the NHS Trust or Primary Care Trust (PCT) where you received your NHS treatment. Your PALS officer will often be able to sort out the problem quickly and efficiently for you - but if they can't, they will give you useful advice about the NHS complaints procedure and the other avenues open to you to.

Find the contact details for your Trust.

Redbridge Concern for Mental Health
98-100 Ilford Lane, Ilford, Essex