The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch has published its second full investigation report to support a new learning culture around mistakes in the NHS. The investigation reviewed the transition of care from child and adolescent to adult mental health services to understand how variations in the transition impacts the safe and effective care of young people. As a result of the investigation a number of recommendations have been made to national NHS organisations to make the transition smoother and safer for young people.
This investigation followed the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch being notified of an 18-year-old who died by suicide shortly after transitioning from child and adolescent to adult mental health services. The investigation identified possible issues regarding the transition process.
It is estimated that more than 25,000 young people transition from child and adolescent to adult mental health services each year, and research has identified that few of those receive an ‘ideal’ transition. There is limited information available to determine how many young people experience severe mental health problems and need crisis support or take their own lives shortly after being discharged from child and adolescent mental health services or following transition from child and adolescent to adult mental health services.
Research suggests that, between 16 and 18 years old, young people are going through significant change and are potentially at their most vulnerable psychologically. Despite this, this is currently the age that young people are either transitioned to adult mental health services, or discharged if they do not meet the criteria for adult mental health services.