Rate of Youth ER Visits for Mental Health Disorders Jumped 60% in a Decade

The rate of emergency room visits by children and teens for mental health disorders rose 60% over a decade, according to a new study.

Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found that between 2007 and 2016, the number of children and teens seen in ERs remained stable, but visits for mental health problems increased dramatically.

The biggest increase was seen in 15- to 17-year-olds. Rates of visits for deliberate self-harm rose 329%, the researchers found.

“This is happening in all emergency departments all across the country and in kids of all ages,” study author Charmaine Lo told HealthDay. “And regardless of whether it’s a children’s hospital or a general hospital, and whether or not they’re in an urban location or in a rural location.”

She thinks pressure from social media has played a role in the increase in children’s mental health issues. “Children, particularly teenagers, are feeling that,” she said. “Also, there’s a lot more awareness of mental health, and children know that there are resources in place for them to seek help and get help.”

Co-Occurring Disorders and Your Child

If your child has been diagnosed with co-occurring disorders, it can be helpful to stay vigilant, especially during this time of social distancing.