The purpose of this study was to examine racial-ethnic and gender differences in return visits to emergency services among transition-age youths (aged 17 to 24 years) with mental health needs.
Data were from the California Emergency Department and Ambulatory Surgery Data. Logistic regression was used to examine the odds of returning to an emergency department among youths who had a psychiatric diagnosis (N=33,588).
About 41% of the sample returned to the emergency department within a year. Compared with white males, the odds of returning were lower for Hispanic males (odds ratio [OR]=.89) and Asian males (OR=.59) and higher for white females (OR=1.21), African-American females (OR=1.49), Hispanic females (OR=1.24), and Native American females (OR=2.09).
Repeat visits to emergency departments among transition-age youths with psychiatric diagnoses may indicate limited access to or lack of high-quality care. The disparities indicate a need for culturally sensitive and gender-specific services for this vulnerable population.