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Open AccessArticle

Psychiatric Emergencies of Asylum Seekers; Descriptive Analysis and Comparison with Immigrants of Warranted Residence

1
University Hospital of Psychiatry, 3008 Bern, Switzerland
2
Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, and JARA–Translational Brain Medicine, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany
3
Department of Emergency Medicine, Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, Freiburgstrasse, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1300; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071300
Received: 12 May 2018 / Revised: 11 June 2018 / Accepted: 19 June 2018 / Published: 21 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee, Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health)
Background: The aim of our study was to assess utilization patterns of psychiatric services by asylum seekers. Methods: We included 119 adults who presented themselves at the University Emergency Department between 1 March 2012 and 1 January 2017 for psychiatric consultation. Descriptive data were compared with a control group of non-Swiss individuals with warranted residence permits using Mann-Whitney-U and chi square (χ2) tests. Results: Patients were mainly single, male, residing in reception centers, and presented themselves most frequently due to suicidal ideation. Almost 60% of the patients were assigned to inpatient treatments, with 28 involuntary cases. Compared to the control group, asylum seekers were younger and more often men (p < 0.001 for both). Further, they less often had family in Switzerland (χ2 = 9.91, p = 0.007). The proportion of patients coming in as walk-ins was significantly higher in the control group than in asylum seekers (χ2 = 37.0, p < 0.001). Asylum seekers were more frequently referred due to suicidal ideation and aggressive behavior than participants in the control group (χ2 = 80.07, p < 0.001). Diagnoses for asylum seekers infrequently included mood, as they often reported stress-related disorders (χ2 = 19.6, p = 0.021) and they were infrequently released home (χ2 = 9.19, p = 0.027). Conclusion: Asylum seekers more frequently demonstrated severe symptoms such as suicidal ideation and aggressive behavior and they were mainly treated as inpatients, potentially due to minimal social resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: asylum seekers; psychiatric emergency services; involuntary treatment; psychiatric hospitalization asylum seekers; psychiatric emergency services; involuntary treatment; psychiatric hospitalization
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Schoretsanitis, G.; Eisenhardt, S.; Ricklin, M.E.; Srivastava, D.S.; Walther, S.; Exadaktylos, A. Psychiatric Emergencies of Asylum Seekers; Descriptive Analysis and Comparison with Immigrants of Warranted Residence. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1300.

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