European Journal of Emergency Medicine vol:21 issue:5 pages:384-6
In the last few decades, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of children and adolescents presenting with psychiatric complaints to the emergency department in the USA. In Europe, however, less is known about the paediatric psychiatric emergency population. This study provides a clinical and demographic profile of this population and its service use in a European context. From 2003 to 2008, we registered 989 paediatric psychiatric patients consulting the psychiatric emergency services (PES) of a large university hospital in Belgium. During this period the number of patients increased more than three-fold. Patients were predominantly female (57.3%) and adolescent (83.3%) and mostly referred for hostility and violence towards others (18.5%) and suicidal ideation (17.8%). For about 1/4 of the patients, PES was the first ever mental health treatment contact. PES could serve as a place for early detection and intervention and as an entry point to mental health services.