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Psychiatric diagnoses, somatic disorders, and emergency dispatches among individuals who used a national suicide crisis line.

Britton PC, Bohnert KM, Denneson LM, Ganoczy D, Ilgen MA. Psychiatric diagnoses, somatic disorders, and emergency dispatches among individuals who used a national suicide crisis line. Journal of psychiatric research. 2024 Apr 10; 174:114-120.

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Crisis line responders initiate emergency dispatches by activating 911 or other local emergency services when individuals are determined to be at imminent risk for undesired outcomes. This study examined the association of characteristics, psychiatric diagnoses, and somatic symptoms with emergency dispatches in a national sample. Veterans Crisis Line data were used to identify contacts (i.e., calls, texts, chats, emails) that were linked with medical records and had a medical encounter in the year prior to contact. Hierarchical logistic regression clustered by responders was used to identify the association among demographics, psychiatric diagnoses, and somatic disorders, and emergency dispatches. Analyses examined 247,340 contacts from 2017 to 2020, with 27,005 (10.9%) emergency dispatches. Odds of an emergency dispatch increased with each diagnosis (three diagnoses Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] (95% CI)  =  1.88 [1.81,1.95]). Odds were highest among individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) (alcohol AOR (95% CI)  =  1.85 [1.80,1.91]; drugs AOR (95% CI)  =  1.63 [1.58, 1.68]), which may be a result of intoxication or overdose during contact, requiring further research. Having more psychiatric and somatic conditions was associated with greater odds of an emergency dispatch, indicating that comorbidity contributed to the need for acute care.

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