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Adolescents in mental health crisis: the role of routine follow-up calls after emergency department visits
  1. S M Hopper1,2,
  2. I Pangestu3,
  3. J Cations4,
  4. C Stewart1,
  5. L N Sharwood1,2,
  6. F E Babl1,2,3
  1. 1Emergency Department, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4Psychiatric Liaison Service, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sandy M Hopper, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3055, Australia; sandy.hopper{at}


To improve care of adolescents in mental health crisis, the role of routine follow-up calls in discharged patients with referral plans after emergency department (ED) presentation to a children's hospital was explored. Main outcome measure was patient attendance at referral sites. In 113 mental health patients with follow-up appointments, either patient/carers or corresponding referral services could be contacted. Median age was 14 years, 77% were girls, and most presentations were after self-harm/depression (61%). Eighty-three per cent (95% CI 75% to 90%) were compliant with the discharge plan without prompting from the ED staff. Fourteen per cent (95% CI 8% to 22%) did not comply after being called by ED staff, and only 3% (95% CI 1% to 7%) were persuaded to attend their outpatient care after being prompted by ED staff. Routine follow-up calls for adolescent mental health patients after ED care are not warranted in all settings.

  • Adolescent
  • mental health
  • emergency department
  • screening
  • emergency care systems
  • paediatrics

Statistics from


  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved as an audit by the ethics committee at Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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