Objective: To assess the long-term impact of early COVID-19 lockdown phase on emergency psychiatric consultations in two psychiatric emergency departments located in Italy. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study comparing the number and characteristics of emergency psychiatric consultations during post-lockdown with respect to the lockdown period. Sociodemographic data, clinical characteristics, referred symptoms, diagnosis, information on multiple psychiatric consultations and hospitalisation were collected. Results: A rise of almost 60% in emergency psychiatric consultations during the post-lockdown compared to the lockdown period was observed. Emergency psychiatric consultations in the post-lockdown period were associated with lower rates of cannabis (aOR = 0.42, p = 0.011) and cocaine use (aOR = 0.39, p = 0.011). Despite a lower occurrence of two or more psychiatric consultations was observed during post-lockdown phase (aOR = 0.44, p = 0.008), subjects who had anxiety disorders (aOR = 3.91, p = 0.000) and substance intoxication or withdrawal (aOR = 6.89, p = 0.000) were more likely to present to emergency psychiatric consultations during post-lockdown period compared to the lockdown one. Conclusions: Substance intoxication or withdrawal and anxiety disorders increased after the COVID-19 lockdown. The findings of this study suggest to address more economic and professional sources to the mental health areas potentially more affected by the different phases of a pandemic.KEYPOINTS COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures increased mental health unmet needs. According to our findings, a rise in emergency psychiatric consultations during the post-lockdown compared to the lockdown period was observed. Patients with substance intoxication or withdrawal syndrome and anxiety disorders were significantly more likely to present to emergency psychiatric consultations during post-lockdown. Lockdown was associated with higher rates of both cannabis and cocaine use disorders as well as of multiple psychiatric consultations. Alternative strategies to improve mental health such as e-health technologies should be promoted.
|Journal||International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2021|
- mental health services
- substance use disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health