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Factors Affecting Self-Harm- or Violence-Related Urgent Psychiatric Consultation During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Taiwan.

PURPOSE: People's health-care-seeking behaviors considerably changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study evaluated the changes in self-harm- and violence-related urgent psychiatric consultation (UPC) in the emergency department (ED) during different stages of the pandemic and at different levels of hospitals.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We recruited patients who received UPC during the baseline (2019), peak (2020), and slack (2021) periods of the same time window (calendar weeks 4-18) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Demographic data such as age, sex, and referral type (by the police/emergency medical system) were also recorded.

RESULTS: We found female gender and younger age associated with higher risk of self-harm-related UPCs, whereas patients visiting regional hospitals, male patients, and patients referred by the policy/emergency medical system, had a higher risk of violence-related UPCs. After adjustment, the different pandemic stages were not significantly associated with self-harm- or violence-related UPCs.

CONCLUSION: Patient's demographic data, but not the pandemic itself, may be responsible for the changes in self-harm- and violence-related UPCs during the pandemic.

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