Rates of mental health-related emergency department visits are highest among non-Hispanic Black adults, according to research published online March 1 in the National Health Statistics Reports, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Zachary J. Peters, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues describe emergency department visits related to mental health disorders among adults and examined differences in visit characteristics by race and Hispanic ethnicity using data from the 2018 to 2020 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.
The researchers found that the rates of mental health-related emergency department visits were highest among non-Hispanic Black, followed by non-Hispanic White and Hispanic adults (96.8, 53.4, and 36.0 per 1,000 adults, respectively).
The highest rates of emergency department visits for specific mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders, were also seen for non-Hispanic Blacks. Medicaid was the expected primary source of payment in a higher percentage of visits by Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black versus non-Hispanic White adults (57.7 and 49.5 percent, respectively, versus 36.1 percent).
“This aligns with prior research assessing pediatric use of emergency departments for mental health disorders and could be expected given that rates of emergency department visits overall are higher among non-Hispanic Black people,” the authors write.
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