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Open Access Publications from the University of California

National differences between ED and ambulatory visits for suicidal ideation and attempts and depression

  • Author(s): Chakravarthy, B
  • Toohey, S
  • Rezaimehr, Y
  • Anderson, CL
  • Hoonpongsimanont, W
  • Menchine, M
  • Lotfipour, S
  • et al.

Background: Many suicidal and depressed patients are seen in emergency departments (EDs), whereas outpatient visits for depression remain high. Study objective The primary objective of the study is to determine a relationship between the incidence of suicidal and depressed patients presenting to EDs and the incidence of depressed patients presenting to outpatient clinics. The secondary objective is to analyze trends among suicidal patients. Methods: The National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey were screened to provide a sampling of ED and outpatient visits, respectively. Suicidal and depressed patients presenting to EDs were compared with depressed patients presenting to outpatient clinics. Subgroup analyses included age, sex, race/ethnicity, method of payment, regional variation, and urban verses rural distribution. Results: Emergency department visits for depression (1.16% of visits in 2002) and suicide attempts (0.51% of visits in 2002) remained stable over the years. Office visits for depression decreased from 3.14% of visits in 2002 to 2.65% of visits in 2008. Non-Latino whites had a higher percentage of ED visits for depression and suicide attempt and office visits for depression than other groups. The percentage of ED visits for suicide attempt resulting in hospital admission decreased by 2.06% per year. Conclusion: From 2002 to 2008, the percentage of outpatient visits for depression decreased, whereas ED visits for depression and suicide remained stable. When examined in the context of a decreasing prevalence of depression among adults, we conclude that an increasing percentage of the total patients with depression are being evaluated in the ED, vs outpatient clinics. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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