Quote from PHStudent
I wonder what if anything we as nurses can do over the longer term in the way of activism, education or policy change that could help better serve those who have trouble serving themselves.
Check out your state's policies regarding follow-up care services that people may be entitled to, and if there are none, work for change. If those services are available, make sure that the right contact/referral is made.
Example: in my "former life" (aka before nursing) I was a psych case manager. Our program was a state mandate; anyone with a state or county hospital commitment, or a certain number of local hospital commitments, was entitled to receive a minimum of 18 months follow up from us. We'd go meet folks when they were still in the hospital, then see them within 72 hours of discharge, get them set up with outpatient or partial care appointments, help with housing, social security, shopping, rehab, transportation, etc. etc. If they still weren't doing well with our help after a while, another team called PACT could take over; that team of social workers, psych doc and APN would do what we did plus more, like house calls for appointments. Not mandated, but funded by a new grant, is also a brand new program to do in-home med monitoring and therapy for people who chronically miss appointments due to stuff like no transportation, child care issues, can't deal with being in public for whatever reason, etc.
Obviously not all states/areas have these services, but you may want to talk to your local community MH center or NAMI branch to see what's out there, and find out what like-minded people are doing to address the service gap.