HealthDay News — From 2011 to 2015, there was an increase in visits to the emergency department for psychiatric purposes among youth across the United States, according to a study published online March 18 in Pediatrics.

Luther G. Kalb, PhD, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues examined trends in psychiatric emergency department visits among individuals aged 6 to 24 years using data from the 2011 to 2015 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. The authors assessed trends and correlates of psychiatric emergency department visits.

The researchers observed a 28% increase between 2011 and 2015 in psychiatric emergency department visits in the United States (from 31.3 to 40.2 per 1000 youth). Adolescents, African-Americans, and Hispanic patients had the largest increases in emergency department visits per 1,000 U.S. youth (54, 53, and 91% , respectively). Adolescents had a large increase in suicide-related visits (4.6 to 11.7 visits per 1000 youth). Psychiatric visits were long (51% were 3 hours or longer), but during their visit, only 16% of patients were seen by a mental health professional.

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“These data support the continued funding and deployment of evidenced-based interventions that can effectively reach families and young adults during times of crisis,” the authors write.

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