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November 1967

Child Psychiatric Emergencies: Clinical Characteristics and Follow-Up Results

Author Affiliations

From the School of Medicine and University Hospitals, Western Reserve University, Cleveland.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(5):584-592. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730290072009

THIS PAPER reports the results of a retrospective and follow-up study of 170 child psychiatric emergencies seen at the child psychiatry clinic at University Hospitals, Cleveland. In an urban area of 1½ million people, this clinic serves as practically the only public resource available on a 24-hour basis for immediate evaluation of acute emotional problems in children under age 18.

We define a child psychiatric emergency as a condition of sufficient emotional distress in a child which he, his family, or the referral source feel incapable of handling for even a few hours. The few previous reports on this subject1-3 have noted that suicidal behavior, incipient psychosis, and acute school refusal in children constitute bonafide child psychiatric emergencies. The literature contains little data regarding the outcome of current methods of handling psychiatric crises in children.2

The present study aimed at investigating two

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