Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 993–1000 | Cite as

Mental Health Visits: Examining Socio-demographic and Diagnosis Trends in the Emergency Department by the Pediatric Population

  • Sharon M. Holder
  • Kenneth Rogers
  • Eunice Peterson
  • Christian Ochonma
Original Article


The emergency department (ED) is increasingly being used for mental health visits by children and adolescents. It is estimated that 21–23% of youth have a diagnosable psychiatric or substance use disorder. Using data from the ED of a tertiary medical center, we examined trends in mental health diagnoses over a 5-year period. In school age children the most prevalent diagnoses were anxiety disorders (28.4%); disorders first usually diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or adolescence (26.5%), and mood disorders (18.6%). High school students were more likely to visit the ED for anxiety disorders (30%). Females (34.5%) presented more for anxiety disorders compared to males (22.7%). Mental health visits and diagnoses were higher during school months (September–May) and lower in the summer months (June–August). The diagnosis trends identified in this study have clinical implications that can contribute to evidence-based restructuring of mental health resources and screenings.


Mental health Psychiatric diagnosis Anxiety disorders Mood disorders School age 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon M. Holder
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kenneth Rogers
    • 2
  • Eunice Peterson
    • 2
  • Christian Ochonma
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Public Health Sciences and the Institute of Family and Neighborhood LifeClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral MedicineGreenville Health SystemGreenvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine, Greenville Health System, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaGreenvilleUSA

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