The Facts on Mental Illness
THREE KEY POINTS
*Mental illness is common
*Mental illness is highly treatable, but under treated – principally due to stigma and lack of access to quality mental health services
*The cost of diagnosis and treatment is negligible compared with the cost of mental illness to individuals and society
As it stands, of the 60 million American adults suffering from mental illness in their lifetime, only about one-fifth will receive adequate treatment, as reported by NIMH in 2009. 5 times more Americans will suffer from a major psychiatric disorder in their lifetime, compared with cancer, heart disease and diabetes COMBINED. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, depression costs an estimated $23 billion in lost workdays every year. Depression alone affects up to 17.5 million U.S. employees, who in-turn, used about 8.8 million sick days in 2001 due to untreated or mistreated depression. Reimbursement for mental health services in Greater Cincinnati is among the lowest 5th percentile in the US
THE GOOD NEWS
One of the myths about mental illness is that diagnosis is guesswork or subjective. The reality is that the reliability of psychiatric diagnoses is as good as and in many instances better than the reliability of diagnoses in other fields of medicine—provided that adequate time is provided to conduct a thorough interview, conduct tests and track treatment response.
Remission and recovery is the achievable goal for most psychiatric illness. In addition to the vast improvements in diagnostic accuracy, there have also been enormous advances in efficacy and safe treatments. Since 1998, the FDA has approved over 25 new medications and 2 new devices for the treatment of mental illness. In addition, 5 new time-limited, focused, illness-specific forms of counseling have been established by sound research.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If we address this disparity, and realize the productivity gains from access to and parity in treatment, the potential return on investment in quality mental health care is enormous.
Stigma exists despite greater advances in the understanding of the genetics, biology, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in the last 25 years than in nearly any other field of medicine. We have never had better evidenced-based treatment and more achievable recovery for most people with psychiatric disorders than we do now.
We have an opportunity to be leaders in improving access to high quality mental health services, an opportunity to be seized not only for humanitarian reasons, but based on economic imperatives. This is an opportunity that many people HOPE the business and healthcare communities in Greater Cincinnati will embrace!
For more information on the Lindner Center of HOPE, click here.