Turkish Archives of Pediatrics
Original Article

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Pediatric Mental Health Emergency

1.

Department of Psychiatry, İstanbul Health and Technology University, Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey

2.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Marmara University, Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey

Turk Arch Pediatr 2023; 58: 80-88
DOI: 10.5152/TurkArchPediatr.2022.22166
Read: 78 Downloads: 20 Published: 01 January 2023

Objective: The aim of this study was to compare pre/post-coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic changes in mental health-related visits to the pediatric emergency department.

Materials and Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of all mental health-related pediatric emergency department visits to a tertiary general hospital between June and September 2019, 2020, and 2021. We described pre/post-coronavirus disease 2019 changes in the use of pediatric emergency departments, such as timing of visits, sex discrepancies, diagnostic distribution, discharge planning, and others.

Results: Compared with the corresponding months before the pandemic (n = 187), mental health-related pediatric emergency department visits decreased by 20.8% in June–September 2020 (n = 148) and increased by 12.2% in 2021 (n = 210). The distributions of age, sex, timing of visits, reasons for presentations, hospitalization, and outpatient clinic appointment rates were not statistically significant between the years. Self-harm in females and aggression/violence in males were the most common reasons for presentation to pediatric emergency departments in each year. In the post-pandemic period, ambulance use and patients referred by other hospitals for psychiatric consultation increased, while the completion time of consultations decreased (P < .05). The frequency of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression decreased, but obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders were more common in the post-pandemic period than in the corresponding months before the pandemic (P < .05).

Conclusion: Our results suggest that the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic resulted in a significant change in mental health-related visits to the pediatric emergency department. Those in the groups with reduced visits may be at risk for delayed access to treatment for their mental and behavioral difficulties.

Cite this article as: Poyraz Fındık OT, Barin GG, Erdoğdu Yıldırım AB, Fiş NP. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric mental health emergency. Turk Arch Pediatr. 2023;58(1):80-88.

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