247156 Characteristics of individuals who are evaluated for service during a mental health crisis: Implications for Healthy Communities

Monday, October 31, 2011

Elizabeth Lloyd McGarvey, EdD , Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
MaGuadalupe Leon-Verdin, MS , Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Yiqi Huang, BS , Student MPH program Department of Public Health Science, University of Virgnia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA
Ekele Enyinnaya, DC , Student MPH program, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA
Richard Bonnie, LLB , Institute of Law, Psychiatry & Public Policy, Unniversity of Virginia Law School, Charlottesville, VA
Most states in the U.S. have established mechanisms in community-based mental health agencies to evaluate people experiencing a mental health crisis (e.g., manic episode) to determine needed treatment. Involuntary commitment to an inpatient psychiatric hospital is one option when a person in crisis refuses treatment, often due to the nature of the mental disorder or when community-based services are not available. A survey of all face-to-face crisis evaluations performed by trained clinicians over a period of 1 month in Virginia was conducted. Results indicated that 11% (n=421) of the evaluations were on juveniles and 87% (n=3,317) on adults. Among adults, about 24% were in the custody of the police at the time of the assessment. 41% of outcomes resulting in involuntary inpatient hospitalization, 14% voluntary inpatient, 5% received no treatment due to refusal and the person not being a danger to self or others, and the rest were referred to public or private outpatient treatment. Juveniles were significantly more likely to have insurance while 41% of adults had no insurance and 42% were not currently in treatment for their condition. Of adults, 86% presented with mental illness, 32% with substance abuse disorder, 3% mental retardation with many having co-occurring disorders. Clinicians reported that immediate medication evaluation by a psychiatrist, short-term crisis stabilization options, temporary housing and safe transportation would have enabled them to better treat patients. The relationship between available community resources and the occurrence of crisis-based involuntary inpatient hospitalization and treatment will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify characteristics of people who experience mental health crises that often lead to involuntary committment to psychiatric inpatient hospital stays. 2. Discuss public health practices to facilitate healthy communities by preventing mental health crisis before they occur to reduce the need for coercive, costly inpatient hospitalizations.

Keywords: Mental Illness, Mental Health Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the Director of Research on the statewide survey of face-to-face emergency evaluations of people experiencing mental health crisis and directed the analysis of the data. I have a record of publications in this area, am an Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences in the School of Medicine at UVA and teach in the MPH program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.