BACKGROUND: Although the emergency department in Belgian hospital is an important gateway to mental health care, there is lack of information about the way in which this population has evolved. Various studies have reported on the increasing numbers of patients with psychiatric problems, particularly in the younger age group.

AIM: To focus on the psychiatric applications at the emergency department of the Brussels University Hospital over a period of 10 years.

METHOD: All patients who arrived with a psychiatric problem were studied with regard to the following variables: age, gender, diagnosis, time of arrival, referral, destination and application for compulsory admission. The 10-year study involved a total of 6,519 patients.

RESULTS: The largest group of patients were aged between 26 and 45. We noted that there were more depressive disorders in women than in men, but men had more psychotic and substance-related disorders. 60% of the applicants came on their own initiative. The number of patients who returned home after an emergency consultation declined over the period of time under study. About 25% of the patients arrived at the hospital after 8 p.m. and before 8 a.m. There was an increase in the number of persons requesting compulsory admission; about 60% of these actually resulted in a compulsory admission.

CONCLUSION: The results demonstrate the importance of psychiatric care in an emergency department of a general hospital and are remarkably similar to the results of other studies. However, some of the comments on the Brussels situation are influenced specifically by the metropolitan area in which the hospital is situated.

Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)323-331
Number of pages9
JournalTijdschrift voor Psychiatrie
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Mental Health Care, emergency

ID: 8633384