Intended for healthcare professionals


Emergency departments should not be default option for people with mental health crisis, says report

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 17 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6873
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Hospital emergency departments should not be seen as the default option or “holding pen” for vulnerable people experiencing a mental health crisis, the College of Emergency Medicine has said, after a survey highlighted poor service provision for people detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.1

Recently the plight of people experiencing a mental health crisis who are detained in police cells has received much attention.2 3 The college pointed out that an emergency department was also a poor environment for such people, as the noise and bustle can be agitating, frightening, and disorienting to vulnerable people. In addition, confidentiality is usually …

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