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European child & adolescent psychiatry

Suicidality and hospitalization as cause and outcome of pediatric psychiatric emergency room visits.


PMID 25331538

Abstract

The aim of this study was to identify predictors of suicidality in youth presenting to a pediatric psychiatric emergency room service (PPERS). To this end, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of youth aged <18 years consecutively assessed by a PPERS 01.01.2002-12.31.2002, using a 12-page semi-structured institutional evaluation form and the Columbia Classification Algorithm for Suicide Assessment. Multivariate regression analyses were conducted to identify correlates of suicidal thoughts and attempts/preparation and their relationship to outpatient/inpatient disposition. Of 1,062 youth, 265 (25.0%) presented with suicidal ideation (16.2%) or attempt/preparation (8.8%). Suicidal ideation was associated with female sex, depression, adjustment disorder, absent referral by family/friend/self, school referral, precipitant of peer conflict, and no antipsychotic treatment (p < 0.0001). Suicidal attempt/preparation was associated with female sex, depression, lower GAF score, past suicide attempt, precipitant of peer conflict, and no stimulant treatment (p < 0.0001). Compared to suicidal attempt/preparation, suicidal ideation was associated with school referral, and higher GAF score (p < 0.0001). Of the 265 patients with suicidality, 58.5% were discharged home (ideation = 72.1% vs. attempt/preparation = 33.7%, p < 0.0001). In patients with suicidal ideation, outpatient disposition was associated with higher GAF score, school referral, and adjustment disorder (p < 0.0001). In patients with suicidal attempt/preparation, outpatient disposition was associated with higher GAF score, lower acuity rating, and school referral (p < 0.0001). Suicidality is common among PPERS evaluations. Higher GAF score and school referral distinguished suicidal ideation from suicidal attempt/preparation and was associated with outpatient disposition in both presentations. Increased education of referral sources and establishment of different non-PPERS evaluation systems may improve identification of non-emergent suicidal presentations and encourage more appropriate outpatient referrals.