Unequal Treatment? Confronting Racial, Ethnic, and Socioeconomic Disparity in Management of Survivors of Violent Suicide Attempt

Khaled El-Qawaqzeh, Christina Colosimo, Sai Krishna Bhogadi, Louis J. Magnotti, Hamidreza Hosseinpour, Lourdes Castanon, Adam Nelson, Michael Ditillo, Tanya Anand, Bellal Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Psychiatric inpatient hospitalization is nearly always indicated for patients with recent suicidal behavior. We aimed to assess the factors associated with receiving mental health services during hospitalization or on discharge among survivors of suicide attempts in trauma centers. STUDY DESIGN: A 3-year analysis of the 2017 to 2019 American College of Surgeons TQIP. Adults (≥18 years) presenting after suicide attempts were included. Patients who died, those with emergency department discharge disposition, those with superficial lacerations, and those who were transferred to nonpsychiatric care facilities were excluded. Backward stepwise regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of receiving mental health services (inpatient psychiatric consultation/psychotherapy, discharge/transfer to a psychiatric hospital, or admission to a distinct psychiatric unit of a hospital). RESULTS: We identified 18,701 patients, and 56% received mental health services. The mean age was 40 ± 15 years, 72% were males, 73% were White, 57% had a preinjury psychiatric comorbidity, and 18% were uninsured. Of these 18,701 patients, 43% had moderate to severe injuries (Injury Severity Score > 8), and the most common injury was cut/stab (62%), followed by blunt mechanisms (falls, lying in front of a moving object, and intentional motor vehicle collisions) (18%) and firearm injuries (16%). On regression analyses, Black race, Hispanic ethnicity, male sex, younger age, and positive admission alcohol screen were associated with lower odds of receiving mental health services (p < 0.05). Increasing injury severity, being insured, having preinjury psychiatric diagnosis, and positive admission illicit drug screen were associated with higher odds of receiving mental health services (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Significant disparities exist in the management of survivors of suicide attempts. There is a desperate need for improved access to mental health services. Further studies should focus on delineating the cause of these disparities, identifying the barriers, and finding solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-78
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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