A comparison of studies from the United States and Western Europe on psychiatric hospitalization referrals for youths exhibiting suicidal behavior

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Abstract

A comprehensive literature review compared the rates of adolescent suicide-behavior based referrals from emergency rooms (ER) to psychiatric inpatient facilities in the United States (U.S.) and in Western Europe (WE). Also compared on both sides of the Atlantic were the characteristics of suicidal youths seen at the ER and those admitted to psychiatric hospital units. The major findings were as follows. (1) Youths at both geographical locations who were seen at the ERs for suicidal behavior were very similar with respect to age and gender. (2) A median of 39% of youths seen in U.S. ERs for suicidal behavior were referred for inpatient psychiatric treatment; in WE, the median was 12%. (3) In the U.S., suicidal youths referred from the ER for psychiatric inpatient care were predominantly female (2.5:1) and mainly midadolescent in age (median age = 15). (4) In WE, the majority of those suicidal youths referred for psychiatric hospitalization were male (1:1.2) and in their late adolescent years (median age = 17). Thus, far fewer but more at risk youths presenting with suicidal behavior were admitted to psychiatric hospitals in WE than in the U.S. Presumably this is due largely to cross-Atlantic differences in malpractice patterns, academic perspectives, and medical care financing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Clinical Psychiatry
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1996

Keywords

  • Attempted
  • Decision making
  • Emergency service
  • Epidemiology
  • Hospital
  • Hospitalization
  • Mental disorders
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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