Crisis Assessment and Treatment Teams - doctors running down a corridor

Help for suicide emergency - Crisis assessment and treatment teams (CATT)

If someone’s life is in danger or there is an immediate risk of harm, call 000.

Crisis assessment and treatment teams (CATT) are based at your nearest local major hospital, and provide help during a mental health emergency.

Made up of psychiatric nurses, social workers psychiatrists and psychologists, they respond to urgent requests to help individuals experiencing a mental health crisis 24 hours a day, seven days a week. CATT’s also work with other services including the police, ambulance, alcohol and drug services, child protection and community services where required.

Caring for someone during a mental health crisis is a frightening experience. CATT teams can help if the person’s health deteriorates so much that immediate support is required. If the person you care about is not willing to attend the emergency department of your local hospital and you believe they are a risk to themselves or others, you can reach the CATT team in your local area through a nearby major public hospital. They can assess the situation, consult with their in-house CATT team and help to decide on the best course of action.

CATTs will aim to provide intensive treatment, care and support at home, always treating people in the community where possible, but there are times when treatment in hospital is required. If this is the case, they will help get the person to hospital by arranging referrals and transport.


What happens when you call?

Your local CATT service will conduct an initial risk and assessment over the phone, and may get in touch with other treating practitioners. From the initial assessment the CATT service will decide how to best support the person in crisis. The CATT service will assess the person’s current mental state, their psychiatric history and what social support they have. They will work with the person involved and their family and/or immediate carer to determine the best way to help.


What information will the CATT service want to know?

If someone’s life is in danger or there is an immediate risk of harm, call 000.

Assess the situation and have the following information ready:

  • Location – where are you? Are there any nearby landmarks?
  • Phone number – the number where you are calling from
  • What happened – be able to effectively explain exactly what has happened
  • Number of people involved – How many people require assistance
  • Condition – what is the current condition of the person in crisis?
  • What assistance is currently being given – are there emergency services already in attendance?

Do not hang up the phone until the operator says so. There may be further information or details required.


Are CATT’s the same across Australia?

CATT services are known by different names throughout Australia, but perform the same roles.

Crisis Assessment and Treatment Teams can be known as:

  • Tasmania – CATT
  • Northern Territory – CATT
  • ACT – CATT
  • QLD – Acute Care Teams
  • NSW – Acute Care Teams
  • VIC – Acute Community Intervention Service
  • SA – Mental Health Triage Service
  • WA – Mental Health Emergency Response Line.


More information on the CATT services in various states can be found here


If you need to talk to a counsellor, call Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

If it is an emergency, dial 000.