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Mental disorders and transition to adult mental health services: A scoping review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2015

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Data are progressively accumulating regarding the transition to adult services.


A comprehensive search using the MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and Cochrane databases up until 16 March 2015 was conducted in order to summarize recent evidence on the transition from child to adult mental health services for patients with mental disorders. Authors extracted data and assessed study quality independently.


The main findings of the 33 included studies were discussed taking into consideration four aspects: experiences of patients, carers, and clinicians, accounts of transition, current services models and protocols, and outcomes of transition. Of the 33 studies, 17 focused on a specific mental disorder: seven on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, four on intellectual disability, three on eating disorders, two on serious emotional disorders and one on autism spectrum disorder. An attempt was also made to integrate the studies’ conclusions in order to improve transitional care.


The review reveals an evident need for longitudinal, controlled, health services research to identify and evaluate optimal service models with systematic and seamless transition protocols for patients with mental disorders requiring continuity of care into adult mental services.

Copyright © European Psychiatric Association 2020

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