Mental Health ER Visits by Teens and Children Increase

A growing number of children and teens are seeking mental health care in emergency departments, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found there was a 28 percent increase in psychiatric visits among Americans ages 6 to 24 between 2011 and 2015, HealthDay reports.

Lead researcher Luther Kalb said the rising suicide and opioid epidemics are a factor in the increase. “Emergency department providers could also be more likely to detect and/or ask about pediatric mental health issues, which leads to increased detection,” he added.

“There is also an increase in outpatient mental health service use overall among youth in the U.S.,” Kalb noted. “This may lead to a trickle-down effect, where the provider sends the child to the [emergency department] during times of crisis.”

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