First Advisor

Joyce Sherpa

Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Science and University Honors






Hospitals -- Emergency services, Crisis intervention (Mental health services), Suicide -- Prevention, Young adults -- Suicidal behavior




Mental health has become one of the most pressing public health issues of the 21st Century. Westernized societies offer much of their attention to childhood obesity, to COVID-19, to undiagnosed and diagnosed Americans living with diabetes. America even sees extended U.S. Senate hearings focusing on opioid use and abuse. Each of these concerns legitimately commands public health official attention, but what the world does not see is any level of sustainable attention given to emotional and mental health crises affecting tens of millions in Westernized countries. Suicide, the most serious of mental health crises, has become the second leading cause of death for young people, 13 to 19.

Mental health and emotional well-being have become more challenging for more people than at any time in recent history. Individuals who are experiencing debilitating mental health crises often find themselves in the emergency department. While hospital emergency departments are the first line of resources for these people, they are poorly suited to meaningfully impact this growing epidemic. This paper examines those limitations, but also explores existing and developing solutions that hold hope or sustainable positive impact, while also demanding more attention be brought to this issue.


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