People discharged from inpatient mental health care are waiting too long for follow-up support, according to Mind, who are calling for an urgent update to NICE guidelines.
Whilst current guidance states that people discharged from inpatient care should be followed up within seven days, Mind has highlighted that this is too long a wait for people who are extremely vulnerable.
A Freedom of Information request to mental health trusts also revealed that 10% of people discharged from hospital for a mental health problem do not receive the recommended follow-up support within seven days.
The period immediately after discharge from hospital carries an especially high risk of people taking their own life. In a survey completed by 850 people, Mind found that people who did not receive follow-up support within seven days of leaving hospital were more than twice as likely to attempt to take their own life.
Therefore for a person in distress, having to wait seven days (or in some instances, longer) poses a real threat to their wellbeing. Mind are calling for an update to the NICE guidance, to ensure that every patient receives follow up within 48 hours after discharge.
Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive for Centre for Mental Health, said
The Centre wholeheartedly supports Mind’s call for an update to the NICE guidance around patient follow-up. Too many people are not receiving vital, timely support, and this is leading to a tragic loss of life in some instances. This is unacceptable and we would urge everyone to support this campaign.