Emergency department chief complaint (EDCC) data provides an opportunity for capturing the early mental health impact of disaster events at the community level, and to track their impact over time. Mental health keyword lists were generated and used to conduct a study of mental health EDCCs after Hurricane Sandy in New York State. Compared with the unaffected area, the relative risk of EDCCs in the affected counties was significantly higher during the 12-day Sandy period (RR 1.16, 95% CI 1.03-1.31), as well as in the 1-year post-Sandy period (RR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01-1.25).
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