The number of young people admitted to hospital for psychological problems increased by 28% in four years – and suicide-related ER visits doubled
- The report published by the journal Pediatrics shows an increase in the mental health problems of 6-24 year olds
- But with few resources, young people turn to hospitals for care
- Mental health ER visits spiked 91% for Spanish youth from 2011 to 2015
- The rates increased 54% for young people in general
The number of young people attending emergency salons with psychiatric problems is increasing, mainly supported by an increase in teenagers and minority youth seeking urgent help for mental illness, a new study suggests.
Between 2011 and 2015 there was a 28 percent increase in visits to psychiatric emergency care (ED) among young people aged 6 to 24, the study found.
The number of visits was 54 percent for teenagers, 53 percent for African-American youth and 91 percent for young Hispanic patients.
Suicide-related visits climbed more than two times during the study period.
More than half of these young people spent at least three hours in the ED. Nevertheless, only one in six saw a mental health specialist.
One in ten children, teenagers and young adults in the US has serious psychiatric disorders, but many of them never get treatment, notes Pediatrics researchers
& # 39; Although I am happy that the ED is a 24/7 source, there is a lack of psychiatric expertise in this setting & # 39 ;, said lead research author Luther Kalb, a researcher at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
& # 39; Use of the ED as a psychiatric crisis center must change, & # 39; Kalb said by e-mail. & # 39; We need to find new ways to reach people in times of need and where they are, instead of relying on the ED. & # 39;
One in ten children, teenagers, and young adults in the US has serious psychiatric disorders, but many of them never receive treatment, notes Pediatrics researchers.
No less than seven percent of all pediatric ED visits relate to mental health or substance abuse.
Emergency care is often the only option for young people in crisis who experience acute problems such as suicidal thoughts, aggression or psychosis, researchers note. It is also where young people go when they do not have access to regular mental health care for chronic psychological problems.
For the current study, researchers investigated nationally representative data on ED visits in the US to estimate what part was related to mental health problems for young people.
Teenagers and young adults were more than four times more likely than children to have psychiatric ED visits, the study found.
The chance of psychiatric ED visits for young children did not change during the study period, not even for teenagers and young adults.
The study was not a controlled experiment designed to explain why more young people are visiting serious psychiatric problems with psychiatric problems.
However, it adds to earlier research suggesting that mental disorders including depression and anxiety increase in children and young adults, Dr. Susan Duffy, a professor at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a pediatric emergency doctor at the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
& # 39; The message for parents is to understand that psychological problems often occur in healthy young people and in some children are the result of chronic stressors, especially anxiety and depression, & # 39; said Duffy, co-author of an accompanying editorial.
As with other medical conditions, she added: There are recognizable signs and symptoms, including behavioral change, isolation, lack of motivation, sadness, poor appetite and sleep, furious outbursts, or restless behavior that can manifest at school failure and problems with relationships. & # 39;
& # 39; Parents should be aware that suicidal thoughts are common in childhood and often not reported unless they are directly questioned and that a significant proportion of young people who have successfully committed suicide have not received mental health care. & # 39;
- If you or someone you know has considered or are concerned about suicide, you can speak to professionals for confidential support:
- For confidential support in the United Kingdom call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritan branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.
- For confidential support in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255
- For confidential support in Australia call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14