Wow, I was really surprised when I read this today. It’s a study estimating the top 10 most expensive health conditions. It has the usual…heart conditions and cancer are numbers 1 and 3, respectively, but “Mental disorders, including depression” came in at number 4 with an estimated cost of 56 billion. I found that hard to believe because Therapists, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists don’t make anything near what a cardiologist or oncologist does. Then I saw this:
The money paid for visits to doctor’s offices, clinics and emergency departments, hospital stays, home health care and prescription medicines [were included].
Okay, I get it now. Most of the money in Mental Health care goes to hospitals, emergency departments and prescription medications. This is due to the public perception they can handle any situation, or take a pill, and do not seek help early. When people figure out this strategy is usually ineffective, they usually end up in an emergency room or hospital, where the costs are astronomical. This “solution” is vastly more expensive than outpatient therapy. As an aside, most therapists, this one included, do not consider ER and hospital admissions treatment, but crisis management. With those factors included, the numbers make sense. If costs for “mental disorders including depression” are ever reduced, a correlating change in perception among the public would also have to occur. In that regard, Mental Health is no different from any of the other conditions cited, where prevention and early detection is paramount to decreasing costs.