HealthDay News — By fall 2022, there were decreases in weekly emergency department visits among all adolescents, and specifically girls, for mental health conditions (MHCs) overall compared with fall 2021, according to research published in the May 12 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Kayla N. Anderson, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined changes in U.S. emergency department visits for MHCs overall and for nine specific MHCs, suicide-related behaviors, and drug-involved overdoses among adolescents aged 12 to 17 years during January 2019 to February 2023.
The researchers found that decreases in weekly emergency department visits were reported among all adolescents, and girls specifically, for MHCs overall, suicide-related behaviors, and drug overdoses by fall 2022 compared with fall 2021; among boys, weekly emergency department visits were stable. Increases in weekly emergency department visits for opioid-involved overdoses were seen during this same period. In fall 2022, mean weekly emergency department visits for suicide-related behaviors and MHCs overall were at or lower than the 2019 prepandemic baseline, respectively, and drug overdose visits were higher. There were differences observed by sex, with levels at or higher than prepandemic baselines for girls.
“These findings extend previous research that indicated worsening in some aspects of adolescent mental and behavioral health during the COVID-19 pandemic and suggest some improvements in the trajectory of adolescent mental and behavioral health,” the authors write.