Your guide to care and support

Care Programme Approach

The Care Programme Approach (CPA) is a package of care for people with mental health problems.

Who gets help under the Care Programme Approach (CPA)?

You might be offered CPA support if you:

  • have a severe mental disorder
  • are at risk of suicide, self-harm, or harming other people
  • tend to neglect yourself and don't take treatment regularly
  • are vulnerable – for example, because of financial difficulties
  • have misused drugs or alcohol 
  • have learning disabilities
  • rely on a carer, or are a carer yourself
  • have recently been sectioned
  • have parenting responsibilities
  • have a history of violence or self-harm

If you have mental health problems, you're entitled to an assessment of your needs with a mental healthcare professional, and to have a care plan that's regularly reviewed.

What do you get from the Care Programme Approach (CPA)?

You'll get a care-coordinator and a care plan.

Your care plan

Your care plan is written down, and sets out what support you'll get day to day and who'll give it to you.

It might cover:

  • your medicines
  • help with money problems
  • help with housing
  • support at home
  • help to get you out and about outside your home

The care plan also outlines any risks, including details of what should happen in an emergency or crisis.

Your care co-ordinator

You'll have a CPA care co-ordinator (usually a nurse, social worker or occupational therapist) to manage your care plan and review it at least once a year.

Your care plan will say who your care co-ordinator is. You should have regular contact with them.

The mental health charity, Rethink, has produced a factsheet about the Care Programme Approach (PDF, 493kb).

Page last reviewed: 16/02/2018
Next review due: 16/02/2021