UNITED KINGDOM: Sending acutely ill mental health patients out of area “increases post-discharge suicide risk”

August 28, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Community Care

When patients who need acute mental health care are sent to faraway hospitals for admission, their risk of suicide in the period after they are released goes up, according to British researchers. Louis Appleby, director of the National Confidential Inquiry on Suicide, explained that “There has been a lot of focus on the distress it can cause to send people to hospitals long distances from friends and family. When you reach the point of discharge you are still a long way from home, your friends, and family… If you are a clinician, you are trying to coordinate care with a service that you don’t necessarily know.” A program intended to provide intensive, home-based mental health care through “crisis resolution teams” has also been relied on with increasing frequency, and the study found that the percentage of suicides by people receiving care under this model had increased from 2003 to 2013. The study’s authors suggested that due to pressure on the mental health care system, some patients who would be more suitable candidates for inpatient care had instead been referred to a crisis team.

Spark Extra! Learn more about the findings and recommendations of the National Confidential Inquiry on Suicide.