Psychiatric emergency care during Coronavirus 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic lockdown: results from a Department of Mental Health and Addiction of northern Italy

Enrico Capuzzi, Carmen Di Brita, Alice Caldiroli, Fabrizia Colmegna, Roberto Nava, Massimiliano Buoli, Massimo Clerici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The current COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent containment measures are leading to increasing mental health issues both in psychiatric patients and general population. Objective: We aimed to compare the number and characteristics of emergency psychiatric consultations during the phase 1 of lockdown with respect to the same period in 2019 in a Department of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) located in Lombardy region. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study including subjects consecutively admitted to two psychiatric emergency rooms of DMHA in Monza, Lombardy, Italy. Sociodemographic data, clinical characteristics, referred symptoms, diagnosis and information on patients’ illness course following the emergency consultations were collected. No subjects were excluded for the purposes of the study. Results: Between February 21st and May 3rd 2020, there was a marked reduction in the number of psychiatric emergency consultations, if compared to the same period of 2019. Subjects who were living in psychiatric residential treatment facilities, had cannabis addiction and a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder were significantly more likely to present to emergency psychiatric consultations during lockdown. Conclusions: COVID-19 epidemic may have a negative impact on more vulnerable individuals. Strategies to enhance relapse prevention and the use of alternative approaches as e-health technologies should be promoted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113463
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume293
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • lockdown
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • pandemic
  • psychiatric emergency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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