Characteristics of Individuals with Severe Mental Illness Who Use Emergency Services

Published in: Community Mental Health Journal, v. 41, no. 2, Apr. 2005, p. 159-168

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by Alexander Young, Matthew Chinman, Julie A. Cradock-O'Leary, Greer Sullivan, Dennis Murata, Jim Mintz, Paul Koegel

Read More

Access further information on this document at www.springerlink.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Emergency services are both a safety net and a locus for acute treatment. While the population with severe, persistent mental illness uses emergency services at a high rate, few studies have systematically examined the causes of this service use. This study examines a random sample of 179 people who were high utilizers of services from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Interviews were conducted and 5 years of service use data were studied. Greater use of emergency services was associated with male gender, minority race, severe illness, homelessness, and less family support. Efforts to reduce emergency services need to improve access to appropriate community services, particularly for people who are homeless or lack family support.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.