Skip to main content

Mental Health - access to support and help (and factsheet)

Information & support for people living with a mental health problem and their carers

When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information - about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues - is vital. Here is some information, so you can find out about the support available to you. Referrals to mental health services are made via the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust Common Point of Entry (CPE), but you may find some of the other sources of support in this service guide mean that you can find the support you need without making a referral to CPE.  Their details can be found later in this guide.

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Early Warning Signs

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Learn more about specific mental health problems.


Where to find Help in an emergency?

  • Please call 999 if you or someone you support needs help in a life threatening emergency
  • Suicidal thoughts:  If you feel you or someone you care for is in imminent danger of taking their life, please:
  • Dial 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency department (A&E) or
  • talk to your GP, or
  • Phone the Common point of Entry 0300 365 0300 on working days until 8pm
  • and/or the Crisis Team at any time on 0300 365 9999

If you are frightened by the thought that you might harm yourself you could:

The Samaritans can be contacted on 08457 90 90 90 – open 24 hours a day or visit their website at 

What are other sources of support?

How can I access the right support?

Your GP or other professional may refer you for help to the Common Point of Entry – the access point for specialist mental health support.  You can also refer yourself if you think you need support due to your mental illness.

The contact details are:

Community Mental Health Team provided by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Common Point of Entry
Phone: 0300 365 0300 or Email: 

The Reading Community Mental Health Team provides healthcare services to people (over 18 + years) with severe and enduring mental health problems (schizophrenia; bi-polar affective disorder; severe depression; psychosis and severe personality disorder) and their carers. This could be in the form of Psychological support, medical support or Care Coordination. The Health service can be accessed through the Common Point of Entry. The Team works closely with Reading Borough Council’s Mental Health Social Care Team

Reading Borough Council Mental Health Social Care Team

A team of mental health social workers provide support to adults living in Reading with mental health issues who have care and support needs. They support people in the community (whether they have just become ill, have a short-term illness or need on-going support), giving practical help with a person’s social care needs alongside their mental health needs. This might be to help people after they have been discharged from hospital, or help to manage risks, or help with practical issues like housing and financial problems. They also provide general support and advice to people and their carers.

You can refer yourself or someone else to the team by calling the Contact Centre on 0118 937 3747.

Help for carers

If you are a carer for someone you are also entitled an assessment of your needs which will determine what support is available.  This Reading Borough Council link gives more information to help you decide on what support you need.

You can complete a self assessment here also:

If you need more support than this, contact the Common Point of Entry as above.

Help for under 18s and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

You may need support as a carer – you could use the Reading Services Guide for carer advice and self assessment

or contact the Common Point of Entry for a referral for support.

Help for people with dementia

If you think you need advice or support due to dementia you should visit your GP in the first instance. 

You may also find some helpful advice in this Services Guide.

General advice and information

The mental health pages within this services guide provide links to sources of advice and support that you may wish to follow up. You may also want to look at other aspects of the Reading Services Guide that may apply to your situation, such as how to access disability equipment, employment advice, social or housing support:

Berkshire Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust provides specialist support services including mental health teams. Contact details for teams and all the services provided by them can be found on their website here:

But if new to services you will need to access these via the Common Point of Entry as mentioned throughout these pages.

If you are a group or organisation that would like to be represented within the services guide please add your details using the contact us form provided to add to the available support for people.

Find local support for Mental Health services by downloading the factsheet below.