Study: Black Americans rely on ERs for mental health treatment at much higher rates than national average
March 03, 2023
New research finds Black adults are more likely to visit emergency departments when experiencing a mental health problem than white adults but face longer delays, and are less likely to be admitted to a hospital for treatment (Source: “Study: Black People Visit ER for Mental Health at Highest Rates,” U.S. News, March 1).
A new analysis released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics shows that from 2018 to 2020, non-Hispanic Black adults visited the emergency department for any mental health-related concern at an annual average rate of 97 visits per 1,000 adults, nearly double the rate of the national average. By comparison, the rate of mental health-related emergency department visits among non-Hispanic white adults was 53.4 per 1,000 from 2018 to 2020, while Hispanic adults had the lowest rate at 36 visits per 1,000.
The analysis did not examine contributing factors for the racial disparities found, but previous research has indicated people of color are routinely underdiagnosed and undertreated for mental illness, which has in part led to rising rates of drug overdose death and suicide.