This pilot study investigated the feasibility of studying 12-month readmission of youth aged 10–16 years following their first psychiatric hospitalization and changes in youth mental and psychosocial health prospectively.
Inpatient youth with a first psychiatric hospitalization and their parents were recruited from a regional hospital in Canada. Data were collected at recruitment, and at 3-, 6-, and 12-months post-discharge. Repeated measures ANOVA was performed to assess changes in health outcomes. Nineteen eligible youth were approached and 15 (78.9%) consented to participate (13.9 ± 2.0 years, 73.3% female). Eleven youth (73.3%) gave permission to contact their parents, all of whom participated (39.2 ± 7.6 years). Four youth dropped out of the study (26.7%) and six youth-parent dyads completed all four follow-ups. The readmission rate was 20.0% (n = 3) over 12 months. Significant changes in youth-reported symptoms of conduct disorder (F = 3.0, p = 0.06) and adverse childhood experiences (F = 3.4, p = 0.05) were found. Changes in parent-reported youth mental health symptoms (F = 3.1, p = 0.06), particularly among internalizing disorders, youth health-related quality of life (F = 11.3, p < 0.01), and youth disability (F = 2.7, p = 0.08) were significant. This preliminary work demonstrates the feasibility of, and need to, engage youth and their families to understand their mental and psychosocial health during this vulnerable period of time.