Authors: Holder SM, Rogers K, Peterson E, Ochonma C
Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2017 Mar 17;:
The emergency department (ED) is increasingly being used for mental health visits by children and adolescents. It is estimated that 21-23% of youth have a diagnosable psychiatric or substance use disorder. Using data from the ED of a tertiary medical center, we examined trends in mental health diagnoses over a 5-year period. In school age children the most prevalent diagnoses were anxiety disorders (28.4%); disorders first usually diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or adolescence (26.5%), and mood disorders (18.6%). High school students were more likely to visit the ED for anxiety disorders (30%). Females (34.5%) presented more for anxiety disorders compared to males (22.7%). Mental health visits and diagnoses were higher during school months (September-May) and lower in the summer months (June-August). The diagnosis trends identified in this study have clinical implications that can contribute to evidence-based restructuring of mental health resources and screenings.