Research: Trends in US Emergency Department Visits for Mental Health, Overdose, and Violence Outcomes Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Authors: Kristin Holland, MPH; Christopher Jones. PharmD, DrPH, MPH; Alana Vivolo-Kantor, MPH; and colleagues.
Abstract/Extract: Question—Did US emergency department (ED) visits for mental health, suicide attempts, overdose, and violence outcomes change during the COVID-19 pandemic? Answer—This study of almost 190 million ED visits found that visit rates for mental health conditions, suicide attempts, all drug and opioid overdoses, intimate partner violence, and child abuse and neglect were higher in mid-March through October 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with the same period in 2019.
Importance: These findings suggest that ED use and priorities for care-seeking shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring mental health, substance use, and violence risk screening and prevention needs during public health crises. it is likely that COVID-19 and associated mitigation measures will have impacts that far outlast the short-term emergency period. Findings underscore the need for continued MHC, suicide, OD, and violence prevention messages, screening, and interventions at individual, relationship, community, and societal levels, as well as longitudinal surveillance to track the long-term impacts of COVID-19.
Availability: Published in JAMA Psychiatry.