Firearm-injured kids have a high rate of developing new mental health diagnoses

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Children and teens who survive firearm injuries are more likely to have a new mental health diagnosis the following year, even compared to children injured in car accidents, a new study shows.

Overall, 35% of children with firearm injuries received a new mental health diagnosis in the year following the incident, compared with 26% of children with crash injuries.

Most of these new diagnoses were related to substance abuse problems with drugs or alcohol, or stress-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. I was in the car that crashed.

New data were presented at the National Research Conference on Firearms Injury Prevention and recently surgical recordby a team led by Peter Ehrlich, MD, M.Sc., Director of Pediatric Trauma Care at CS Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan and Professor of Pediatric Surgery at Michigan Medicine.

Ehrlich and his colleagues used data on about 1,500 children with firearm injuries between the ages of 3 and 17 who sought emergency care between 2010 and 2016, and about 3,700 similar children with crash injuries. was investigated. All injured children were insured through Medicaid or CHIP programs. It covers about 40% of all American children.

Boys made up over 80% of both populations of injured children, with an average age of 15 years. However, 65% of children injured with firearms were black, and his 52% of children injured in crashes were non-Hispanic white children.

The study, funded by the Child and Teenage Firearm Safety (FACTS) consortium, will help reveal the impact of young people who survive firearm injuries. In 2020, firearms have overtaken car crashes as the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 1 and 19.

But the lack of research funding for studying gun injuries and their aftermath represents an information gap for teams caring for an estimated 20,000 young people who survive gun injuries each year.

We know that exposure to trauma, such as firearm injuries, is a well-established risk factor for mental health conditions in children, but until recently, the effects on mental health after firearm injuries were largely unknown. Little was known. Our study reveals the magnitude and type of disability most likely to occur in young firearm injury survivors, so they can receive timely diagnosis and care. I hope it will.”

Peter Ehrlich, MD, M.Sc., Director of Pediatric Trauma Care, CS Mott Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan, and Professor of Pediatric Surgery, Michigan Medicine

They also looked at whether the new mental health diagnosis was new to the child or an addition to another previous mental health condition.

Overall, 18.4% of children with firearm injuries who did not receive a prior mental health diagnosis received a new diagnosis the following year, compared with 13.5% of children with accident injuries. Also, among children whose pre-injury records indicated at least one of her mental health diagnoses, 16.4% had another separate diagnosis after a firearm injury.

Ehrlich found that survivors of firearm injuries scored higher on composite measures of injury severity, were more likely to be hospitalized, and were more likely to require intensive care compared with survivors of car crashes. said to be expensive. This affects the cost of care and the complexity of follow-up care. Overall, those admitted to hospital were more likely to be diagnosed with a new mental health condition.


Journal reference:

Ehrlich, PF, and others. (2022) Mental health care after firearm- and motor vehicle-related injuries. surgical record.

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