Emergency department data came from the 2011–2015 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, a national survey of emergency department visits across the United States. Psychiatric emergency department visits were identified by using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision and reason-for-visit codes. Survey-weighted logistic regression analyses were employed to examine trends in as well as correlates of psychiatric emergency department visits. Data from the US Census Bureau were used to examine population rates.
Between 2011 and 2015, there was a 28% overall increase (from 31.3 to 40.2) in psychiatric emergency department visits per 1000 youth in the United States. A large increase in suicide-related visits (by 2.5-fold) was observed among adolescents (4.6–11.7 visits per 1000 US youth).
Although psychiatric emergency department visits were long (51% were ≥3 hours in length), few (16%) patients were seen by a mental health professional during their visit.