Personality Disorder Support Community

Personality Disorder Support Community

NHS Services Access

The first step

If you are concerned that you may have a mental health issue, your first point of contact should be your GP. If your mental health issues are considered to be mild or less complex, for example, depression or anxiety, your GP might be able to prescribe some medication to help ease your symptoms and may refer you to a counsellor, who, together with your GP, might be able to resolve the issues.

Care Plan Approach

A Care Plan Approach (CPA) is one where a plan is laid out so the patient gets the best treatment possible for their needs. A CPA is usually delivered when a patient has more complex mental health needs that may require a more specialised service.

There are four stages to a CPA.

  • Assessment.

  • Care Plan.

  • Care Coordinator.

  • Review.


There are usually many different types of services available so in order to provide you with the best possible treatment, an accurate picture of your requirements is needed. Assessments may be carried out by more than one person, so for example, you may be assessed by not only your GP, but also a social worker or a psychologist.

These points will need to be covered during the assessment:

  • Mental health symptoms and experiences.

  • Thoughts and behaviour.

  • Physical health.

  • If you pose a risk to yourself or others.

  • Housing needs.

  • Financial circumstances.

  • Employment or training needs.

  • Drug or alcohol abuse.

  • Culture and ethnic background.

  • Dependants.

  • Goals and ambitions.

Care Plan

After your assessment, your care plan will be drawn up and it usually includes the treatment or care that is designed to meet your needs. You are usually encouraged to include your own hopes and wishes for the outcome of the care. The care plan will also include a plan for emergency situations and include information such as who you would wish to contact in case of a crisis.

Care Coordinator

You will be assigned a Care Coordinator (or Keyworker) who will then be your first point of contact. This may be your social worker or community health nurse, for example. They will be the one to turn to in case you have any questions, or explanations during the course of your treatment.


Your treatment should be reviewed regularly, as circumstances and your needs might change. A review will consist of a meeting between yourself and your care coordinator and other professionals to see if your care plan needs to be changed to meet your needs better.

A review may be held in a more familiar setting, such as your home, and you are allowed to bring friends or family for support. Sometimes, an advocate is asked to accompany a patient, to represent them and air their views and opinions on the patient's behalf. This usually happens when the patient feels that they are not receiving the treatment that they feel they should receive.


NHS Choices - ... vices.aspx