Mental health

Non-urgent advice: Need mental health support?

To talk to someone about your mental wellbeing you can call the 24/7 NHS mental health telephone support helpline on 0800 038 5300 for advice and triage. Support is available to anyone, regardless of age, all day every day. If you or someone you know feels they need to access urgent mental health support, they will listen to you and assess how best to help.

Mental health resources and support

There are many ways you can keep your mental health fit and well, just as you would your physical health. Having a healthy mind and recognising what to do if you start to have a wobble can help you to avoid getting into a crisis. Follow the links below for resources and information to help everyone in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have good mental health.


We all feel anxious at some point in our lives. Things like sitting an exam, having a medical test or a job interview may make us worry.

Feeling anxious some of the time is perfectly normal. For people with generalised anxiety disorder, these feelings are much more constant. It can affect their day-to-day life and stop them doing things they must do, and things they like to do.

Severe anxiety can be the main symptom in several other conditions such as, panic disorder, phobias, and post-traumatic syndrome.

Generalised anxiety disorder

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition that can make you feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than just one thing.

People with GAD feel anxious most days. They will often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. GAD can cause emotional and physical symptoms.

GAD affects approximately 1 in 50 people at some time during their life. Slightly more women have GAD than men, and it is most common in your twenties.

GAD can significantly impact on your daily life, making it difficult for you to complete everyday tasks.

There are several different treatments available which can help both your anxiety and physical symptoms.


Depression is often an illness. If you are depressed, the usual feelings of sadness that we all experience temporarily remain for weeks, months and years. They can be so intense that daily life is affected. You can not work normally, you don’t want to be with your family and friends, and you stop enjoying the things you usually do.

If you experience depression, you may feel worthless, hopeless and constantly tired. In most cases, if you have milder depression, you can probably carry on but will find everyday tasks difficult. If you have severe depression, you may find your feelings so unbearable that you start thinking about suicide.

About 1 in 10 of us develops some form of depression in our lives, and 1 in 50 has severe depression. It affects not only those with depression, but also their families and friends.

Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a long term condition that may require long term management or treatment. Some people only have depression once, but many people have repeated episodes.

An episode of depression commonly involves a number of events that combine to take you into a downward spiral. Studies suggest women are about twice as likely to have depression as men, but this may be because women are more likely to seek help.

Some studies have suggested depression is more likely as we get older and it is more common among people who face difficult social and economic circumstances.

Are you at risk of depression?

Depression is complex and the risk of developing it may increase if the information below relates to you.

Experience a stressful life event

It takes most people time to come to terms with these kind of events. You are at a higher risk of depression if, when these stressful events happen, you stop seeing friends and family and try to deal with things on your own.

Have a long term condition

You could be at risk of depression if you are diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness such as coronary heart disease or cancer

Being vulnerable to depression

You may be vulnerable to depression due to certain personality traits, e.g. low self-esteem or being overly self-critical. This may be due to genes you have inherited from your family, or your personality or early life experiences, which can each have a profound effect on the way you think about yourself in later life.

Have recently given birth

Some women are particularly vulnerable after pregnancy. The hormonal and physical changes, as well as the added responsibility of a new life, can lead to postnatal depression.

Cut off from family and friends

Social isolation may be a risk factor for depression, or a response to feeling depressed as the downward spiral takes hold.

Drink excessively or use drugs

Substance abuse can be a cause of depression. Use of drugs such as cannabis and cocaine can also lead to feelings of depression. Some people try to cope by drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs. This can result in a spiral of depression where the isolation, alcohol or drugs make you feel worse about yourself so you isolate yourself and drink or take drugs even more.

Getting help for depression

Getting help as soon as you think you may have depression may prevent your depression getting worse. The exact causes of depression are not fully known. It seems more likely to occur if there is depression in the family, but having a relative with depression does not mean you will necessarily become depressed yourself. There are also a number of lifestyle factors or influences in the world around you that may increase the risk of you developing depression.

The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people make a full recovery from depression. It is important to seek help from your GP if you think you may be depressed. Although GPs are able to help most people to manage depression, for some people, particularly those with more severe depression or where treatment is not successful, more specialised care may be needed.

Feeling suicidal

Non-urgent advice: Talk to someone now

If you need help for a mental health crisis, emergency or breakdown, or if you are worried about someone else, you should get immediate expert advice and assessment.

Talk to someone now. Call us 0800 038 5300, any time day or night. If you or someone else is in immediate danger call 999.

It is important to know that support is available, even if services seem busy at the moment because of COVID-19. We can offer video appointments.

If you have already been given a crisis line number to use in an emergency, it’s best to call it.

How to help yourself

  • Visit the emergency department if you are concerned that you can’t keep yourself safe.
  • Call 999 if you are unable to visit the emergency department and you have harmed yourself.
  • Talk to your GP, tell the receptionist about how you feel so they can make the GP aware as soon as possible
  • Talk to someone who can understand such as Samaritans, you can call them free from a mobile or landline on 116 123
  • Make a safety plan.

Talk to someone who can help

NHS 24/7 helpline

To talk to someone about your mental wellbeing you can call the 24/7 NHS mental health telephone support helpline on 0800 038 5300 for advice and triage. Support is available to anyone, regardless of age, all day every day. If you or someone you know feels they need to access urgent mental health support, they will listen to you and assess how best to help.


Call the Samaritans free from your landline or mobile 24/7 365 days a year on 116 123.

Support Matters Cornwall

This service operates from 5pm to 9am on weekdays and 24-hours a day at weekends and bank holidays. The service is open to all patients (aged 16 or older) under the care of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s mental health services. Support can be delivered over the telephone, via text, email or web chat. Call free on 0800 001 4330.

Support services

The campaign against living miserably (CALM) is specifically for men. The service is open 7 days a week, from 5pm to midnight.

Papyrus is a service for people under 35. Call 0800 068 4141 or text 07786 209697. Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm. Evenings 7pm to 10pm. Weekends 2pm to 5pm.

SHOUT has a 24/7 text service for anyone who is in a crisis. Text 85258.

How to help someone who is feeling suicidal

If you are concerned that someone is feeling suicidal, they have already made an attempt at suicide, or they have told you that they are intending to end their life and they are in immediate danger then you should call 999.

If someone has said that they have thoughts of suicide and that they do not know what they want to do, then you should support them to call their GP, and tell the receptionist the situation.

The Staying Safe website has instant online access to help you talk to someone, and the best ways to help them. It is important that the person you are talking to feels listened to, and that someone cares about them.

Have you or someone else been affected by suicide?

Being bereaved by suicide can have an impact on loved ones left behind. In Cornwall we have a dedicated service which can support friends and family of someone who has died by suicide. The Outlook South West suicide liaison service provides support through trained professionals with specialist skills. If you, or someone you know, would like to access this free service you can call them on 01208 871905. Referrals can also be made by your GP or a health professional.

See our latest suicide prevention system wide suicide prevention strategy

Suicide prevention and the promotion of good mental health is a key priority in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, with a shared commitment across the NHS and the Local Authority to our communities and those who live within them.

The local suicide rate is higher than the average in the Southwest and England. On average more than one person dies by suicide every week in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Each one of these deaths is a tragic loss. It has a devastating impact on families, friends, colleagues, communities and services.

Our vision is… a Cornwall and Isles of Scilly with zero suicides, where people can live healthy, fulfilling and connected lives; and where anybody in need and in crisis is supported by their communities and services that work together to improve wellbeing

There are 4 strategic priorities for action to deliver this strategy.

  • A strong local intelligence network and the sharing of best practice
  • Promotion of healthier, more connected and safer communities
  • Targeted suicide prevention and early intervention
  • Support for people impacted by suicide

Read the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Suicide Prevention Strategy 2022-2027

Mental health and learning disability prior approval

You will need to complete a prior approval application for any routinely commissioned service.

Where you can demonstrate that locally commissioned services cannot meet the needs of a person, the NHS will consider the following services:

  • specialist opinion
  • specialist hospital admission (normally referred to as locked rehabilitation)
  • forensic assessment of children and young people
  • step down treatments (NHS England commission high, medium, and low secure inpatient care)

How do I make an application?

Fill out this form.

Send your form by email to our mental health and learning disability team.

You must have considered all local provision and be able to evidence this in your application and supporting documents.

For all other requests, use the individual funding request process.

Wellbeing guidance for people worried about gambling

Is your gambling getting the better of you?

Please see this supporting document at the Cornwall Council website: Wellbeing guidance for people worried about gambling (PDF only, 719KB) for guidance and advice.

Page last reviewed: 5 April 2023

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