Gap creates risk for young people with mental health problems

Oct 11, 2010

Many young people with mental health problems are at risk of falling through a huge gap in provision when they move from adolescent to adult care services, according to new research from the University of Warwick.

A team led by Professor Swaran Singh at Warwick Medical School looked at the transition from child services to adult and found for the vast majority of users the move was “poorly planned, poorly executed and poorly experienced”.

In a study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, the research team looked at 154 service users who were crossing the boundary from child to adult mental health services. They followed the sample group for one year to examine their experiences.

Of the cohort of 154, only 58% made the transition to adult mental health services. The researchers found that individuals with a history of severe mental illness, being on medication or having been admitted to hospital were more like to make a transition than those with neurodevelopmental disorders, emotional/neurotic disorders and emerging personality disorder. The research team also found that a fifth of all actual referrals that crossed the boundary to adult mental health services in this study were discharged without being seen.

Professor Singh said: “Despite adolescence being a risk period for the emergence of serious mental disorders, substance misuse, other risk-taking behaviours and poor engagement with health services, mental health provision is often patchy during this period. By following a paediatric-adult split, mental health services introduce discontinuities in care provision where the system should be most robust. Often for the vast majority the transition from child to adult mental health services is poorly planned, poorly executed and poorly experienced.”

The team found that information transfer between child and adult mental health services was hampered by a lack of understanding of each other’s services, inconsistent documentation, different systems used for transfer of electronic information and transfer of referrals to lengthy waiting lists during which time dialogue between mental health professionals on each side was reduced.

Professor Singh added: “Where possible case notes should follow the young person and detailed referral letters, including risk assessments, should be sent to adult mental health services to facilitate planning. We need to ensure that the vital need for improving youth mental health is not ignored for fear of dismantling long-standing and yet unhelpful service barriers. “

Explore further: Religious music brings benefit to seniors' mental health

More information: The paper, ‘Process, outcome and experience of transition from child to adult mental healthcare: multiperspective study’ is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry (2010) 197, 307-312.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mental health woes grow while spending declines

Jul 15, 2010

As the current global economic crisis drives up the demand for mental health care services, cash-strapped agencies are slashing mental health budgets, according to a new Brandeis University study out this month in the International Jo ...

Research investment failing mental health

Oct 03, 2008

More money and effort needs to be directed to understanding the causes and treatment of mental disorders to ensure improvements in the health of the community and the one in five people that experience mental illness in any ...

Childhood mental health problems blight adult working life

Apr 03, 2008

Mental health problems in childhood blight adult working life, suggests research published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. And problems in working life are associated with mid life depression and an ...

Recommended for you

Religious music brings benefit to seniors' mental health

Apr 18, 2014

A new article published online in The Gerontologist reports that among older Christians, listening to religious music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death and increases in life satisfaction, self-e ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.