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Support for complex mental health problems

An initial mental health assessment

Seeing your GP

If you're worried about your mental health, the first thing to do is to see your GP.

Your GP will ask you questions about your mood, thoughts and lifestyle to help them to understand your mental state and will begin to make a diagnosis. They may recommend counselling or another 'talking therapy', or some medication which may help. In such circumstances they will keep an eye on your mental health, and it may be that you don't need more specialist assessment and support.


If your doctor thinks you have a more serious mental health problem which needs treatment and monitoring by specialist mental health professionals, they will refer you for an assessment by a specialist mental health team.

Your local mental health team will be made up of both health professionals from your local NHS mental health trust, and social workers employed by your local council. This mental health team will assess both your health and your social care needs.

Following this assessment they may offer you a brief period of support to set you on the road to recovery, before referring you back to your GP for any ongoing treatment.

Alternatively if your mental health needs are more complex then they will refer you on to a mental health recovery team, who will agree longer-term support arrangements with you to aid your recovery. This process is known as the Care Programme Approach (CPA).

If your social care needs are high enough to meet the criteria for support set by your local council then you may be offered a personal budget to pay towards the cost of your social care. The following pages will explain more about this process:

Requesting an assessment - this page explains how a council will assess someone's social care needs, regardless of whether or not they have a mental health problem

Personal budgets and direct payments - this page explains how your council may pay towards the costs of any social care which you receive following the assessment

If your support is arranged under the Care Programme Approach then you may work with a variety of health and social care professionals, including doctors, psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers.

The following websites provide good information on what happens under the Care Programme Approach:-

Mental health support in Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea is provided by the Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with your local council.

Locality Teams

 These locality teams will work with you to develop your recovery goals and offer continuity of care. They will assess your needs to make sure the treatment provided is personalised to you. They will also offer more intensive care when you need it most and work with you towards greater independence in managing your health and wellbeing. 

Older people support

The Older People Community Mental Health Teams work with people with mental health problems over the age of 65:-

Concerns about your memory

If you have concerns about your memory or the possible early signs of dementia then go our section on Dementia and memory loss for advice on what to do.

Please see the Other information and Advice page for organisations and services that support people with experience of mental health issues. 

Last updated: 08/07/2021