Less than 10 years ago, the emergency department at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego would see around one or two young psychiatric patients per day. However, today, at least 10 to 20 youth patients are being seen in the same department, according to a report by Kaiser Health.
Dr. Benjamin Maxwell, the hospital’s interim director of child and adolescent psychiatry, says in the report it isn’t unusual for the emergency room to see that many patients today.
He says what’s happening is kids aren’t getting the care they need until it gets to the point where it’s dangerous.
Not only are more of the youth being seen in this particular hospital, but more in all of California and the nation.
Emergency rooms (ER) throughout California are reporting a sharp increase in adolescents and young adults seeking care for a mental health crisis, the report says.
In 2018, California ERs treated 84,584 young patients ages 13 to 21 who had a primary diagnosis involving mental health. That is up from 59,705 in 2012, a 42% increase, according to data provided by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.