Taking a holistic approach to acute mental health crisis

Amy Cook
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

An innovative, collaborative model implemented by a UK ambulance service allows patients presenting with a mental health condition to be promptly assisted by a specialist team comprising a paramedic, mental health nurse and police officer. Initial evidence suggests that greater collaboration between emergency services and mental health trusts benefits patients and services: leading to timely assessments, reductions in patient distress levels, and decreasing emergency department overcrowding while providing substantial savings for the NHS. This article explores existing care pathways for patients experiencing acute mental health crisis. Current research from the UK is discussed, and compared with working practices of paramedics internationally. Through reflection of a case study, common difficulties faced in paramedic practice are identified. A multi-agency response to ensure the right care is provided in the right place at the right time is proposed.

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