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.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

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.