What is it about?

The percentage of Black children who present to emergency rooms with suicide-related thoughts and behaviors has increased in recent years in the United States. In this brief report, we looked at the characteristics and management of emergency room visits of pre-adolescent children to an urban academic emergency room. We found differences by race, with Black children being less likely to say they had thoughts of suicide, more likely to be brought by police, and less likely to be admitted to the hospital than children of other races.

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Why is it important?

The findings are important as a first step to understand differences in how children present to the emergency room in crisis and for what reasons, and what health care systems do to manage their crises. It also guides us highlighting potential points of intervention to decrease health disparities by race.


While these data are from only one emergency room, and more research is needed across different systems, the understanding of potential systemic issues in the treatment of children in crisis can help address the suicide national emergency among children, and especially Black children. I am happy that my co-authors and I were able to explore this topic and contribute to the work others have already done in this area.

Carol Vidal
Johns Hopkins University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Racial Differences in Emergency Department Visit Characteristics and Management of Preadolescents at Risk of Suicide, Psychiatric Services, March 2023, American Psychiatric Association, DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.202100608.
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