Mobile crisis teams reduce hospital admissions for serious mental illness, according to updated Cochrane review


‘Crisis intervention’ and ‘home-care packages’ are provided in the community to help people who are going through an acute phase of severe mental illness.

The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group have updated their review on this topic by conducting their usual robust and systematic search for randomised controlled trials of crisis intervention models versus standard care for people with severe mental illnesses. They found 3 new studies to include in the review, which was last updated in 2006 and previously summarised 5 trials.

The quality of the included studies was mixed, but the reviewers made it clear that further research is needed before we can confidently say that crisis intervention is significantly better than standard care.

Here’s what they found:

  • When compared to standard care:
    • Crisis interventions appear to reduce the number of repeat admissions to hospital
    • Mobile crisis teams supporting patients in their own homes had the best record for reducing admissions
    • Patients and families regard crisis intervention as a more satisfactory form of care at 3 months

The reviewers concluded:

Care based on crisis intervention principles, with or without an ongoing home care package, appears to be a viable and acceptable way of treating people with serious mental illnesses. If this approach is to be widely implemented it would seem that more evaluative studies are still needed.


Murphy S, Irving CB, Adams CE, Driver R. Crisis intervention for people with severe mental illnesses. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD001087. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001087.pub4.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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