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What to expect - FAQs

Frequently asked questions

We know that you may have a lot of questions.  Here are answers to some of the most common.


How common are mental health problems?

At any time about one in four people experience symptoms of mental illness and one in four will experience mental health problems at some time.

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What happens if my GP refers me?

If your GP or another health professional think you need more specialist help, they may refer you to one of our specialist mental health services.

Often this is because they will know more about the problems you are experiencing than your GP does, so it's easier for them to help you. Usually you will be referred to your local Community Mental Health Team or Recovery Support Team. These are based within your local community. Your GP will contact the team for you and explain the problems you are experiencing.

You will then get an appointment with the person or people you need to see. Being seen by a Community Mental Health Team or Recovery Support Team does not mean you'll have to go into hospital. Most people who are referred to these teams are cared for and treated at home or in the community, and with the right support, continue to lead active and fulfilling lives.

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What happens if I'm admitted to hospital?

Most people can get all the help they need without coming into hospital. However, people sometimes need more intensive assessment or support or a safe environment.

If this is the case we may recommend that you come into hospital for a while. We will discuss this with you. We will explain why we think it is necessary and how long you might be in hospital.

If you do have to come into hospital, we will make sure you are given information about your rights and that you are only in hospital for as long as you need. Your friends and family can visit you and we will make sure they know of their rights too.

When you arrive on a ward you will be given a welcome pack which will give you and your family all the information you need to know.

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What happens during my stay?

Everyone's treatment is different and will be tailored to your indivdual needs.

Treatment in hospital usually involves some sort of medication. There should be information on your ward about the medication you are taking. You may also be given other non-drug treatments such as psychotherapy or occupational therapy. The nursing staff will also talk to you about your problems and help you to manage your thoughts and feelings.

You will have a named nurse who is responsible for you during your stay. You will also have a deputy for when your nurse is off duty. These can be good people to talk to if there are things you are concerned about.

While you're in hospital, you will be involved in putting together your care plan. This is where your care and treatment is written down. It will also name one person who will be your named professional or care coordinator.

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What is the Mental Health Act and what does it mean?

The Mental Health Act (the Act) is the main piece of legislation guiding the compulsory inpatient admission and treatment of people with mental health problems in England and Wales.

At any one time around one in six people are experiencing symptoms of mental illness and one in four people will experience mental health problems at some time in their lives(Department of Health). The vast majority of these will be treated on an outpatient basis.

You might find that being taken to hospital against your will is stressful and upsetting. If you are detained under the Mental Health Act and wish to appeal, our staff will help you. The ward you are on will have a list of mental health solicitors who will be able to advise you.

In most cases, you can get free legal representation at your tribunal or managers’ hearing under the Legal Aid scheme. You may find it useful to get support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA).

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What support is there for carers?

Supporting someone with a mental health problem can be rewarding, but it can also be difficult and sometimes lonely. Having good information at the right time and knowing where to get help and support can make all the difference.

As a Trust we are committed to informing, involving and supporting carers, family members and friends as partners in the care of people using our services.

We are Gold Star members of the Carers’ Trust’s ‘Triangle of Care’ membership scheme that promotes shared working between carers, professionals and people using services.

Carers have the right to have their own needs assessed under the Care Act 2014. This is called a Carer’s Assessment.

The assessment looks at your needs to see what services could be provided to help you. The assessment will look at how caring affects your emotional and physical health, finances, work and relationships.

The assessment is your opportunity to sit down and explain what would make caring easier for you and what your own needs are. Services you may be offered include support to give you a break, emotional support, help with household tasks and help.

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What support is available if someone is in crisis?

If you are experiencing a crisis and you need help, the first person to contact is your named professional or care co-ordinator. If it is urgent and they are not available, ask for the duty manager.

If you are a current patient of ours and you need help at night or on weekends/bank holidays you can call our mental health support line, which offers emotional support and advice to patients and their carers who are affected by mental health issues.

Contact us on 0800 028 8000

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How do I give you some feedback?

We know that the people who use our services are the true experts on how those services should be developed and delivered. Your views and experiences help us to improve services for everyone. Your feedback will help us understand what we do well and what we can do better.

We are keen to hear your views, good or bad and there are a number of ways that you can do this.

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What do I do if I am not happy and want to make a complaint?

While we hope that you do not need to make a complaint about our services, if you do, we want to make the process easy.

There is no special form you need to complete to make a complaint, just get in touch with us and we will try to resolve it. You can make a complaint verbally or in writing (by email, letter or phone call).

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Can I park at your hospitals?

Parking is available at all of our hospitals and is available at, or nearby, many of our other locations. Please allow plenty of time when travelling to your appointment. If you are travelling by car at peak times there may be traffic congestion and you will need to find, and pay for, a parking space.

Find out more about car parking.

Do you have restaurants at your hospitals?

Springfield Hospital and Tolworth Hospital both have restuarants which serve a mixture of hot and cold snacks throughout the day

Springfield Just Deli restaurant

Hot food is available from the main restuarant at Springfield Hospital between 8.30am and 2.30pm Monday to Friday.

There are also vending machines in snack areas by the restaurant and also in the main building (building 14) which are open from 8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Friday. The vending machines offer a range of sandwiches, crisps, confectionery and Costa coffee.

Tolworth restaurant

Hot food and snacks. are available atTolworth Hospital between 8.30am and 2.30pm Monday to Friday.

For information about other locations please see their websites.