Economics of mental health

Pharmafile has an interesting article on the “Economics of Mental Health”.  The article has a number of interesting statistics:

  • The cost: “Mental health issues have been estimated to cost the world economy $2.5 trillion each year. To put that into perspective, the United Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $2.6 trillion in 2017.”
  • Costs extend beyond direct medical costs. “The direct costs associated with treating mental illness come to a total of $0.8 trillion, the indirect costs [e.g.,lost productivity, social security,  criminal justice system] come to a sum…totalling an estimated $1.7 trillion
  • The interplay of physical and mental illness.  “30% of people with a long-term physical health problem also had mental health issues, while 46% of those with a mental health condition also suffered from long-term physical health issues.”
  • Lifetime incidence.  “…more than 50% of the populations of middle- and high-income countries will suffer from at least one mental health issue at some point in their lives.
  • The cost of a suicide.  Not counting the emotional cost of a suicide on family members and friends, “In England, the average cost of a single suicide of someone of working age is estimated to be around £1.7 million, when factors such as loss of output and police and funeral costs are factored in. However the vast majority of suicides are entirely preventable.”

Much of my own research has covered the economics of mental illness in particular the economics of medication adherence among patients with serious mental illness.  For instance, my  work on  differences in adherence trends among patients with SMI, and the value of drug adherence information are two examples.

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