The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Common in the ER

Here’s an article from PsychCentral that talks about the number of patients in any ER across the country and the statistics that show mental health issues as being a driving force in keeping the number of visits up.

As a psychiatric nurse, I know that many of my patients come to us from the ER.  My patients need help and that is the only place that they can actually get someone to help them.  The mental health system is too difficult to navigate and people in pain cannot face all the frustration involved.

PsychCentral is a great site to get up to date, useful information; so please visit and read more about current issues.


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 19, 2010

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Common in the ERNew government statistics show that nearly 12 million visits made to U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2007 involved people with a mental disorder, substance abuse problem, or both.

This accounts for one in eight of the 95 million visits to emergency departments by adults that year.

Of these visits, about two thirds involved patients with a mental disorder, one quarter was for patients with a substance abuse problem and the rest involved patients dealing with both a mental disorder and substance abuse.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality analysis also found that for the 12 million emergency department visits involving mental health and/or substance abuse problems:

  • Depression and other mood disorders accounted for 43 percent of the visits, while 26 percent were for anxiety disorders and 23 percent involved alcohol-related problems.
  • Mental health or substance abuse-related visits were two and a half times more likely to result in hospital admission than visits not involving mental disorders or substance abuse. Nearly 41 percent of mental disorder or substance abuse-related visits resulted in hospitalization.
  • Medicare was billed for 30 percent of all mental health or substance abuse emergency department visits; private insurance was billed for 26 percent; the uninsured for 21 percent; and Medicaid 20 percent.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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July 21, 2010 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , , , , ,


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