Research indicates that follow-up with hotline callers and people recently discharged from an emergency department (ED) or inpatient setting has positive results for both consumers and providers of mental health services. Given that suicide risk is highest one week after discharge from an inpatient setting, the 24/7 availability of crisis centers’ services are invaluable. For medium to high risk callers, studies show that centers help to minimize ideation, hopelessness, and psychological pain. Further, crisis center follow-up before a service appointment is associated with improved motivation, a reduction in barriers to accessing services, improved adherence to medication, reduced symptoms of depression and higher attendance rates. Follow-up by crisis centers is also cost effective; it reduces utilization of emergency services and offers diversion to more appropriate services for patients who do not require admission to the hospital.
In a 2015 review of crisis center practices, of 134 centers sampled, 91% (122) provided some form of follow-up service. Programs ranged from follow-up services for frequent callers, monthly check-ins for high risk callers, ED/inpatient discharges, high risk callers, and third party calls.