A Dartmouth-led study, published in the journal Pediatrics, offers new details about pediatric mental health boarding in emergency departments across the country, a problem that has steadily increased in the last 10 years and been made worse by a shortage of psychiatric resources.
Boarding refers to the practice of admitting children and adolescents–who are in need of inpatient mental health treatment–to emergency departments or inpatient medical units while they wait for a psychiatric bed to become available in the hospital.
Behavioral and mental health disorders are the most common and costly chronic diseases that affect children and adolescents. Approximately one in six U.S. youths has a behavioral or mental health condition, and treatment costs for these disorders are estimated to exceed $13 billion annually. Yet, 50 to 70 percent of children who have treatable behavioral and mental health conditions don’t receive