The Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 on US Emergency Departments

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2022 Mar;45(1):81-94. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2021.11.005. Epub 2021 Nov 11.


Behavioral emergencies in the United States have been increasing, with some studies reporting a doubling in the number of people experiencing symptoms related to mental health conditions, although overall visits to US emergency departments (EDs) decreased during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic caused many people to avoid health care facilities, including EDs, even if they may have otherwise sought emergency care, and was associated with increases in new behavioral health diagnoses. Measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 led to people limiting their in-person contact with others, likely exacerbating preexisting mental health issues.

Keywords: Behavioral emergencies; COVID-19; Emergency department; Hospitalization; Mental health; Pandemic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States / epidemiology