Introduction: The emergency department (ED) is often the first point of access to the health care system for patients with an acute mental health crisis. Outpatient resources are limited, typically do not operate after hours, and patients and their families often lack sufficient information on where and how to access mental health services within their communities. The objective of this study was to determine which community healthcare resources patients attempted to access for their mental health condition prior to presenting to the ED. Methods: Between April 2016 to June 2017, a convenience sample of adult ( 18 years) patients presenting to an academic ED (annual census 65,000) with a mental health complaint were invited to complete a 23-item, paper-based survey. The questionnaire was pilot-tested and peer-reviewed for feasibility and comprehension. Results: Of the 200 patients who completed the survey, mean (SD) age was 37 (16) years and 96 (48%) were male. 20 (10%) patients were brought to the ED involuntarily by police services. 175 (88%) had been previously diagnosed with a mental health condition, the most common being depression and/or anxiety (n=134, 67%). 47 (24%) patients indicated they were currently only connected to a primary care provider, while 94 (47%) patients indicated they had existing relationships with multiple mental healthcare providers. 117 (59%) patients attempted to see an alternative healthcare provider prior to coming to the ED. 78 (39%) patients had a pending scheduled appointment with a healthcare provider for their mental health condition, 44 (56%) of which were within 7 days of their ED visit, but chose to seek care in the ED. 38 (19%) patients either had a referral with no appointment date set, or had an impending mental health appointment scheduled more than 30 days from their ED visit. Conclusion: These findings suggest that most patients seeking ED care during a mental health crisis do so despite being connected to alternative healthcare providers and outpatient services. Future studies should attempt to determine reasons why patients with mental health conditions seek care in the ED, and examine barriers to mental health care in the community and outpatient setting.