Depression is on the rise and it is not cheap. While loneliness and the post pandemic world wrestle with the mental health issues that have added, individuals are beginning to see the rising cost of depression. While only world wide, 5 percent suffer from depression, it still costs the world economy over 1 trillion dollars. Also, for every dollar, it is important to note that additional funds go towards negative ways of coping.
The article, “Depression is costing the global economy a ‘profound’ $1 trillion per year, warns U.S. Surgeon General” by Alexa Mikhail takes a closer look at these stats and how it is costing the global economy. He states,
“As health officials continue to sound the alarm on the growing loneliness epidemic, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says the prevalence of depression is closely linked. Loneliness and social isolation increase the risk for mental health problems, including depression. About 280 million people—or 5% of adults globally—have depression, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).”
“Depression is costing the global economy a ‘profound’ $1 trillion per year, warns U.S. Surgeon General”. Mikhail, A. (2023). FortuneWell.
To review the entire article, please click here
In the United States, the cost for depression is over 250 million alone and it continues to rise as more become depressed through the years. What is causing this? Many blame loneliness. Some blame the pandemic as well. Regardless, investment needs to be put into helping individuals cope better with loss and if depressed, find the right help and learn how to cope and find healing. Remaining permanently dependent on medication is not the answer for everyone either. Some severe cases may need long term, but those with minor cases need coping as well to balance the issue within the mind. The high cost of pharmaceutical drugs is astounding and depression is only aspect of it. In addition anxiety, OCD, ADHD and other minor disorders are constantly treated rising the price globally.
So in essence, it is important to find the reason why depression is increasing, treat it more cost effectively and help people return to normal with stronger coping mechanisms.
Healthcare expenses related to mental health
One of the primary financial costs of mental health is the healthcare expenses associated with diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care. Mental health services, including therapy, medication, and hospitalization, can be prohibitively expensive for many individuals and families. Insurance coverage for mental health varies widely, with some plans offering limited coverage or high out-of-pocket costs. As a result, individuals often face significant financial strain when seeking the help they need.
Moreover, the lack of accessible and affordable mental healthcare options exacerbates the financial burden. Limited availability of mental health providers, especially in rural areas, means that individuals may have to travel long distances or pay exorbitant fees for specialized care. This further contributes to the hidden costs of mental health.
Lost productivity and economic impact
Another significant financial cost of mental health is the loss of productivity in the workforce. Mental health conditions can lead to decreased work performance, absenteeism, and even long-term disability. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, depression and anxiety disorders alone cost the global economy over $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.
Employers also bear the financial burden of mental health issues among their workforce. They face increased healthcare costs, decreased productivity, and higher turnover rates. Additionally, the stigma surrounding mental health often leads to a reluctance among employees to seek help, resulting in prolonged suffering and further financial strain.
The cost of untreated mental health conditions
Unaddressed mental health conditions can have severe consequences, both for individuals and society. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, these conditions often worsen over time, leading to increased healthcare costs and reduced quality of life. The cost of untreated mental health conditions extends beyond the individual, affecting families, communities, and the economy as a whole.
Individuals with untreated mental health conditions are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse, which further compounds the financial burden. The costs associated with addiction treatment, legal issues, and lost productivity due to substance abuse can be astronomical.
Financial burden on individuals and families
The financial burden of mental health falls heavily on individuals and their families. The cost of therapy sessions, medication, and other treatments can quickly add up, straining budgets and depleting savings. In some cases, individuals may be forced to choose between paying for mental healthcare and meeting other basic needs, such as housing or food.
Furthermore, the impact of mental health on employment can lead to job loss, reduced income, or increased healthcare expenses. This creates a cycle of financial instability and stress, exacerbating the mental health condition and making it even more challenging to seek help.
The role of insurance coverage in managing mental health costs
Insurance coverage plays a crucial role in managing the financial costs of mental health. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, passed in the United States in 2008, requires insurance plans to provide equal coverage for mental health and substance abuse services. However, despite this legislation, many individuals still face significant barriers to accessing affordable mental healthcare.
Employers can play a vital role in ensuring comprehensive mental health coverage for their employees. Offering robust insurance plans that prioritize mental health services and provide adequate coverage can help alleviate the financial burden on individuals and families. Additionally, advocacy for broader insurance coverage for mental health treatments can contribute to a more inclusive and supportive healthcare system.
Strategies for reducing the financial burden of mental health
Addressing the hidden financial costs of mental health requires a multi-faceted approach. Here are some strategies that can help reduce the burden:
- Early intervention and prevention: Investing in early intervention programs and preventive measures can help identify and address mental health issues before they escalate. By providing accessible and affordable mental healthcare at the early stages, individuals can receive timely support, reducing the need for more extensive and costly treatments later on.
- Education and awareness: Raising awareness about mental health and destigmatizing seeking help is crucial. By promoting understanding and empathy, society can create an environment where individuals feel comfortable seeking treatment, reducing the financial burden associated with untreated conditions.
- Integration of mental health into primary care: Integrating mental health services into primary care settings can improve access and reduce costs. By offering mental health screenings and treatments in the same setting as physical health care, individuals can receive holistic care that addresses all aspects of their well-being.
- Community support and resources: Communities can play a vital role in supporting individuals with mental health conditions. By establishing support groups, providing resources, and fostering a sense of belonging, communities can help reduce the financial burden on individuals and families.
Conclusion: Investing in mental health for a healthier and wealthier society
The financial costs of mental health are often hidden behind the emotional and psychological toll that these conditions take on individuals and their loved ones. However, addressing these costs is essential for creating a healthier and wealthier society. By investing in accessible and affordable mental healthcare, promoting early intervention and prevention, and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, we can alleviate the financial burden on individuals, families, and communities. It is time to recognize and prioritize mental health as an integral part of overall well-being and work towards a future where everyone has equal access to the support they need.
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification. Grief Counselors can better help individuals cope with loss and take workload from LPCs and other necessity of medicative needs. While certified Grief Counselors can only help with basic loss and not depression or more severe maladies, they can play a key role in helping those suffering. Some Grief Counselors are also LPC’s though and with a certification in Grief Counseling can confidently help those with depression.
“The Economic Cost of Depression is Increasing; Direct Costs are Only a Small Part”. (2021). American Psychiatric Association. Access here
“How Much Does Depression Cost?”. Cherney, K. (2020). Healthline. Access here
“The Costs of Depression”. Kessler, R. (2012). National Library of Medicine. Access here
“Depression Cost the US $326 Billion Per Year Pre-Pandemic, a 38% Increase Since 2010”. (2021). Cision. Access here