The Role of Afro-Canadian Status in Police or Ambulance Referral to Emergency Psychiatric Services

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ObjectiveThis study tested the hypothesis that among patients admitted to a hospital with psychosis, Afro-Canadian patients would be more likely than Euro-Canadian or Asian-Canadian patients to be brought to emergency services by police or ambulance.MethodsData on psychotic patients admitted to the psychiatry ward in 1999 were extracted from records of a general hospital in Montreal. Logistic regression models examined the relationship between being Afro-Canadian and being brought to the emergency service by police or ambulance, while controlling for age, gender, marital status, and number of psychotic symptoms.ResultsOf the 351 patients with psychosis, 59 percent were Euro-Canadian, 11 percent were Afro-Canadian, and 18 percent were Asian Canadian. Most Afro-Canadian patients in the study were immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa. Being Afro-Canadian was independently and positively associated with police or ambulance referral to emergency services.ConclusionsAfro-Canadians admitted to the hospital with psychosis are overrepresented in police and ambulance referrals to emergency psychiatric services.

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