Support Outside of the Emergency Department


A wide range of services and supports are available across the mental health system. A person may have experience with some health and social care services and know what works best for them, while others may not know what supports are available or how to access them.

Some of the people we talked to said they find that mental health services, including phone support and apps, can be helpful when they are experiencing distress. Others described being involved in support groups where they can share their experiences of mental health concerns and listen to the life experiences of others as beneficial. Working with people to increase their knowledge of the range of available supports may help them to manage their distress outside of the emergency department.

People also reported drawing on their social networks, activities and places that support their wellbeing outside of the mental health system. Some people talked about supportive friends, families, and workplaces, while others commented on the benefits of organised activities. They explained that opportunities to participate in safe and supportive activities facilitates connections with others and has a positive impact on their wellbeing. Asking a person about their life experience and interests may help to identify what informal supports or meaningful activities are available that could help to support their mental health and quality of life.

Key points

  • Informal and formal supports both within and outside of the mental health system contribute to the wellbeing of communities and individuals.
  • Initiating a discussion about a person’s experiences and knowledge of mental health services may help to identify what formal supports might be available, accessible, and appropriate for them.
  • Helping people to identify opportunities to participate in activities may help them to build connections and find meaningful support people outside of the mental health system.
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