Typology of psychiatric emergency services in the United Kingdom: a narrative literature review

Opeyemi Odejimi*, Dhruba Bagchi, George Tadros

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mental health crisis requiring emergency access to psychiatric service can occur at any time. Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES) is described as one that provides an immediate response to an individual in crisis within the first 24 h. Presently, several types of PESs are available in the United Kingdom (UK) with the aim of providing prompt and effective assessment and management of patients. Therefore, this study aims to provide a detailed narrative literature review of the various types of Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES) currently available in the UK. Method: Electronic search of five key databases (MEDLINE, PsychINFO, EMBASE, AMED and PUBMED) was conducted. Studies were included if it described a mental health service in the UK that provides immediate response in mental health crisis within the first 24 h. Excluded studies did not describe a PES, non-English, and were not conducted in UK. Results: Nine types of PESs were found. Amongst the 9 services, more papers described crisis resolution home treatment. Majority of the papers reported services within England than other countries within the UK. Conclusion: All types of PESs were described as beneficial, particularly to mental health service users, but not without some shortcomings. There is a need to continue carrying out methodological research that evaluate impact, cost-effectiveness as well as identify methods of optimising the beneficial outcomes of the various types of PESs. This may help inform researchers, policy makers and commissioners, service users and carers, service providers and many more on how to ensure current and future PESs meet the needs as well as aid recovery during crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number587
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

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  • Crisis intervention
  • Literature review
  • Mental health crisis
  • Mental health services
  • Psychiatric emergency services
  • United Kingdom


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