Short term involuntary psychiatric examination of children in Florida

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Children’s mental health services, Acute care services, Emergency psychiatry, Repeated admissions


This study describes the use of emergency mental health services by children over a 4-year period. Analysis of a statewide database revealed 51,861 or 15% of all involuntary examinations were conducted on children. These youth were on average a little over 14 years of age and law enforcement officials initiated the majority of examinations. The majority of examinations were initiated due to the children demonstrating harmful behaviors to themselves or others. One-fifth of the children (21%) experienced more than one examination over the 4-year period. Areas of future research on this topic are discussed. The implications of the nature of examinations and patterns of repeated examinations are discussed.