Characteristics of individuals with severe mental illness who use emergency services

Alexander S. Young, Matthew J. Chinman, Julie A. Cradock-O'Leary, Green Sullivan, Dennis Murata, Jim Mintz, Paul Koegel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Emergency services
  • Health care utilization
  • Health services accessibility
  • Human
  • Mental disorders
  • Mental health services
  • Needs
  • Psychiatric
  • Schizophrenia
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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