How has emergency department use for children’s mental health changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Lena Weib
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

The early COVID-19 pandemic brought overall declines in children’s mental health–related emergency department visits, according to a study in Psychiatric Research and Clinical Practice that analyzed electronic health records from four U.S. academic health systems.

Children’s mental health–related emergency department use declined from the spring through the fall of 2020 (−25.5%) compared with 2019, with substantial variation by season, sex, race, ethnicity, age group, and diagnosis.

When controlling for demographic shifts, visits among children with intellectual disabilities, developmental disorders, and childhood‐onset disorders (including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) were especially reduced during the early pandemic.

“Early pandemic-associated shifts in use of emergency mental health services among children were highly variable and may have differentially affected children and families particularly vulnerable to loss of school-based resources,” said lead author Juliet Beni Edgcomb, MD Ph.D., of the UCLA‐Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. “Going forward, we need to better understand the longitudinal impacts of instructional disruptions and other COVID-19–related changes on children’s mental health use.”

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More information:
Juliet Beni Edgcomb et al, Mental Health‐Related Emergency Department Visits Among Children During The Early COVID‐19 Pandemic, Psychiatric Research and Clinical Practice (2022). DOI: 10.1176/appi.prcp.20210036

How has emergency department use for children’s mental health changed during the COVID-19 pandemic? (2022, February 24)
retrieved 28 February 2022

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