MORE than 150 people with mental health issues did not receive a follow-up within seven days of being discharged from hospitals in the South West a Freedom of Information Request has shown.
Mental health charity Mind requested information from all mental health trusts in England to see if ongoing support was in place for people being discharged with mental health issues.
97 per cent of people discharged from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust hospitals were contacted within seven days, the report showed.
But 73 people were not contacted during that time.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines currently state that all patients should be followed up within seven days because patients are at high risk of post-discharge suicide in the first week.
Nationally, one in ten people being discharged do not receive a follow up within a week (at least 11,000 people per year).
A survey conducted by Mind showed that people who don't get a follow-up within seven days are twice as likely to attempt suicide, and a third more likely to harm themselves. They are more than twice as likely to visit an A&E department for mental health issues than someone who receives ongoing support after discharge.
Sophie Corlett, director of external relations at Mind, said the figures were "not good enough" and "a tragedy".
She said: “The government has put suicide prevention as a key patient safety issue for the NHS as a whole and pledged to reduce suicides by 10 per cent in the next five years. Timelier follow-up for patients after they leave hospital could help achieve this."
She said Mind was calling for the follow-up period to be reduced from seven days to 48 hours.
Sophie said those who didn't receive the proper care after leaving hospital can "end up in a revolving door" straight back to hospital, or be at risk of suicide.
“Whether you’ve been in hospital for days or for months, when you come out you need the right care and support to help you stay well," she said.
"A vital part of this is having someone make early contact with you to make sure you’re ok and getting the ongoing support you need. Seven days is simply too long to wait when someone’s recovery is still at risk. We need to see a reduction of the follow-up time to 48 hours now.”