The Impact of theCovid-19 Pandemic on the Admission of Psychiatric Patients in Emergency Department During the Early Pandemic Period

Turk Psikiyatri Derg. 2023 Winter;34(4):235-243. doi: 10.5080/u26847.
[Article in English, Turkish]


Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions cause increasing mental health problems in both the general population and psychiatric patients. In this study, it was aimed to compare the number and characteristics of emergency psychiatric consultations in the earlypandemic period and in the same period of 2019, in order to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic affects psychiatric emergencies and the health care seeking behavior of people with psychiatric disorders.

Method: A retrospective cross-sectional study was designed in which patients who applied to Emergency Department of Bursa Uludağ University and were consulted to psychiatry between 11 March 2019 - 1 September 2019 and 11 March 2020 - 1 September 2020 were included. Sociodemographic characteristics of the patients, psychiatric diagnoses, hospitalizations, psychotropic drug use and treatment compliance, frequency of admission, indications for hospitalization/ referral and suicide attempts were compared.

Results: It was observed that the ratio of psychiatric admissions to the emergency department to all emergency department admissions was significantly higher in the early-pandemic period than in the prepandemic period. In the early-pandemic period, emergency department admissions due to depression disorders were found to be significantly lower; schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, and psychotropic drug side effects were found to be significantly higher than in the prepandemic period.

Conclusion: In this study, it was shown that the COVID-19 pandemic may have a negative impact on psychiatric patients. Prompt implementation of measures to deal with the psychiatric effects of the pandemic, using online health services, developing coping strategies and identifying early signs of psychiatric illness exacerbations can reduce the negative effects of this stressful period on vulnerable individuals.

Keywords: COVID-19; Pandemic; Psychiatric Emergency Emergency Department.; Psychiatry; Quarantine.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Retrospective Studies