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