Too Few Young People Get Mental Health Follow-Up after ER Visit

December 09, 2022

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


A new study highlights the need for more follow-up care after young people experience mental health crises. Researchers looked at data from people ages 12 to 27 with private insurance who had an emergency department visit or hospitalization for mental health reasons. They found about 29% of those discharged from the emergency department received follow-up care within 7 days and 46% received follow-up within 30 days. Of those who were hospitalized, about 43% got follow-up care within 7 days and 67% within 30 days of discharge. This age group may experience gaps in care as they transition from pediatric to adult providers, and changes in health insurance as they move from high school to college or new jobs. To help increase mental health follow-up, the study authors recommend addressing these gaps in care, increasing communication between providers, and providing case management to coordinate care before patients leave the hospital. “For people discharging folks after a psychiatric crisis, whether it be in a hospital or in an emergency room setting, connecting with their outpatient provider to ensure there is a transfer of care and some continuity is vitally important to reduce risk for this population,” said co-author Dr. Brian Skehan, an assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at UMass Chan Medical School.

Spark Extra! Check out our Virtual Learning Lab to learn more about care transitions.