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Young people who have fallen through the mental health transition gap: a qualitative study on primary care support

Appleton, Rebecca; Loew, Joelle; Mughal, Faraz; (2022) Young people who have fallen through the mental health transition gap: a qualitative study on primary care support. Br J Gen Pract , Article BJGP.2021.0678. 10.3399/BJGP.2021.0678. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Owing to poor continuity of care between child and adult mental health services, young people are often discharged to their GP when they reach the upper boundary of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). This handover is poorly managed, and GPs can struggle to support young people without input from specialist services. Little is known about young people's experiences of accessing mental health support from their GP after leaving CAMHS. AIM: To explore the experiences and perspectives of young people and the parents/carers of young people receiving primary care support after CAMHS and to identify barriers and facilitators to accessing primary care. DESIGN AND SETTING: Qualitative study with young people and parents in two English counties: London and West Midlands. METHOD: Narrative interviews were conducted with 14 young people and 13 parents who had experienced poor continuity of care after reaching CAMHS transition boundary. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. RESULTS: Three themes were identified: unmet mental health needs, disjointed care, and taking responsibility for the young person's mental health care. Barriers included the perception that GPs couldn't prescribe certain medication, anxiety caused by the general practice environment, and having to move to a new practice at university. Young people's positive experiences were more likely to include having a long-term relationship with their GP and finding that their GP made time to understand their needs and experiences. CONCLUSION: GPs could help to meet the unmet needs of young people unable to access specialist mental health services after leaving CAMHS. There is a need for comprehensive handover of care from CAMHS to GPs, which could include a joint meeting with the young person and a member of the CAMHS team. Future research should focus on interventions which improve continuity of care for young people after leaving CAMHS, and collaborative working across community mental health services.

Type: Article
Title: Young people who have fallen through the mental health transition gap: a qualitative study on primary care support
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3399/BJGP.2021.0678
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3399/BJGP.2021.0678
Language: English
Additional information: © The Authors http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ This article is Open Access: CC BY 4.0 licence (http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/).
Keywords: mental health, primary care, qualitative research: general practice, transition, young people
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148137
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