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Trends in Psychiatric Admissions of Children and Adolescents during Early Corona Period Year (2020) Compared to Pre-Corona Year (2018): A Cross Sectional Study in Israel

Author(s): Ali Saad, Hadeel Hamady, Tanya Kronos, Ludmila Sandler, Dorit Itah

Background: The current study sought to assess the patterns and characteristics of psychiatric admissions among children and adolescents during the early corona period (2020) compared to a year before the corona pandemic started (2018), and analyzing on a deeper level the psychiatric admissions that were related directly to corona stressors and their correlations with sociodemographic variables.

Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted in The Child and Family Guidance Unit in The Galilee Medical Center, a psychiatric department for patients aged 6-18 years. The medical records of psychiatric admissions in the year 2020 and 2018 were analyzed on the same dates. Statistical analyses were performed with SPSS v.20. Since all the variables were not normally distributed according to Shapiro-Wilk, non-parametric tests were conducted, including Mann-Whitney U and Chi-Square tests.

Results: The study showed 17% increase in psychiatric admissions in 2020 compared with 2018. In 2018 most admissions were at November while in 2020 most of them were at May. The most common cause of admissions in 2018 was outbursts and violence 43% while in 2020 it was suicidal thoughts and behaviors 36%. Almost a third of patients admitted in 2020 reported a corona stressor in their admission, the majority was changes in daily routines.

Conclusion: Changing daily routine and inconsistency in school attendance may have been the main stress factor on children and adolescents and might have caused a rise in hospital admissions caused by suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Thus, future studies should monitor the mental health of children and adolescents during the continual corona pandemic.

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