June 1, 2015

The Primary Cause of CT Hospitalizations: Mental Disorders

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Summarizing a recent Department of Public Health (DPH) report, the Connecticut Health Investigative Team (C-HIT) reported mental health disorders as the leading cause of hospitalization in Connecticut in 2012 for children (ages 5 to 14), teenagers, and young adults. According to C-HIT’s review of the data, between 2011 and 2013, the state saw a 5.3% increase in the number of days that patients with behavioral health problems were hospitalized.

The DPH report also found that approximately 1 million of the 8 million visits made to emergency departments during that period were for psychiatric or drug- or alcohol-related mental disorders. The common diagnoses among children included mood disorders, depression, attention deficit disorder, and disruptive behaviors. In a July 2014 C-HIT story, hospital administrators reported an “increasing number of children with mental health problems showing up in emergency rooms, sometimes staying multiple nights before residential placements or support services can be found.”  Several task forces and state agencies have recommended “better coordination of mental health services to children and young adults to reduce fragmentation, improve screening, and expand emergency response teams and access to care.”