Emergency department visits and readmissions at children’s hospitals that are mental health-related are “rising exponentially,” a new study shows.
Between 2015 and 2020, mental health visits to pediatric emergency departments increased by 8 percent annually, with about 13 percent of those patients returning within six months, according to the study, published Tuesday in the journal. JAMA Pediatrics. While all other emergency department visits increased by 1.5 percent annually.
Mental health visits increased by 6.3% annually, but in general, the percentage of mental health visits that were subsequently revisited remained stable,” which may reflect that visits during the study period Factors associated with the second did not change substantially, even in children. The mental health crisis worsened,” wrote researchers from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California and Boston Children’s Hospital.
“However, the significant increase in the raw number of revisits is still worrisome,” the researchers added in their study.
Study findings show that both pediatric mental health emergency department visits and re-visits are on the rise, “and identifying patients at high risk for re-visits is appropriate for improving mental health care delivery.” It provides an opportunity for interventions.”
The new study included data from more than 200,000 patients seen at 38 children’s hospitals in the United States between October 1, 2015 and February 29, 2020. The data came from the Pediatric Health Information System, a children’s hospital administrative database.
The researchers looked at how many seizures included a diagnosis of mental health disorders or deliberate self-harm. They also analyzed mental health relapse, meaning a patient returned to the emergency department within six months of their initial visit.
The continued increase in child mental health emergency department visits “may be related to a combination of factors, including a worsening crisis in child mental illness and a shortage of mental health physicians,” the researchers wrote.
The most common diagnosis in mental health emergency department visits was suicidal ideation or self-harm, representing 28.7% of patients. mood disorders 23.5 percent; anxiety disorder at 10.4%; and disruptive or impulse control disorders at 9.7%.
The data showed that 13.2% of mental health emergency department visits were re-evaluated within six months. Patients with diagnoses associated with conduct disorders, including disruptive or impulse-control disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, and psychiatric disorders, were at the highest risk of recidivism. Patients with substance use disorders were less likely to return to the emergency department.
“Given the more than doubling of fentanyl overdose deaths among adolescents from 2019 to 2021; Just published by the CDC.it worries me that we may have only one chance to intervene and help this very vulnerable population that we urgently need to have,” pediatrician Dr. Scott HeadlandMass General for Children and chief of adolescent and young adult medicine at Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the new research, wrote in an email to CNN.
Hadland said the trend in children’s mental health emergency department visits and re-visits matches what was seen on the front lines of health care providers – even before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’re absolutely seeing this rise. I run my primary care clinic for adolescents in Boston, and on a typical day at the clinic, I see more than four out of every five adolescents struggling with mental health concerns. are.” “We know that Covid has socially isolated many young people, keeping them away from school and other activities that are important for their healthy development. As a result, the same mental health problems The rate is probably even higher now.”
Hadland added that there is a growing need for better access to mental health services for youth and better funding to sustain those services.
“Because our mental health systems are so strained, psychiatrists and therapists who work with youth are in short supply, pediatricians like me are having to fill that role,” Hedland said, adding that more support and resources are needed. Without, the country can continue. Emergency department for revisiting mental health patients.