Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the type, severity and progression of psychiatric pathologies in a sample of 372 outpatients (age range 18–65 years) referred by their primary general practitioners (GPs) to an Urgent Referral Team (URT) based in a psychiatric hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland. This team offers immediate appointments (1- to 7-day delays) for rapid assessments and early interventions to the outpatients referred by their primary family doctors.
Method: One-sample t-test and z statistic were used for data analysis. From the total population, a convenience sample of 40 people was selected and assessed to evaluate whether follow-up appointments after the first visit could reduce the severity of suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety in the outpatients seen by the URT. A two-sample t-test and a Wilcoxon signed-rank test were used to assess the variations in the scores during the follow-up visits.
Results: We found a statistically significant prevalence of depressive disorders, comorbid with anxiety at first presentation in people who were females, white, never married, living with a partner, not studying and not in paid employment. The common presentation of borderline personality disorder and dysthymia in this population underscores its vulnerability to major socioeconomic challenges.
Conclusion: The data confirmed the impact that primary care cooperation with psychiatric hospitals can have on the psychiatric system, and as a reflection, on the population’s mental health and well-being. In fact, active cooperation and early diagnosis and intervention will help detect cases at risk in the general population and reduce admissions into hospitals.