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Chronic Mental Health Conditions Could Cost States up to $3.5 Trillion

Chronic Mental Health Conditions Could Cost States up to $3.5 Trillion
Challenges are many, but opportunities abound for reforms that would bring better overall health, greater savings through access to quality care
Washington, D.C.  (April 26, 2017A recent study conducted by IHS Markit and commissioned by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), has found that chronic mental health conditions are increasingly prevalent and burdensome across the U.S. and if not addressed could cost up to $3.5 trillion by 2030 - $3.4 trillion in medical costs and another $140.8 billion in societal costs. The research has a particular focus on state-covered populations and found that 41 percent of adults with state-funded coverage, or 15.9 million U.S. adults, have at least one mental health condition.

There is a strong connection between mental health and other chronic conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that only about 17 percent of adults in the U.S. are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health. Not surprisingly, chronic conditions including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, depression and heart disease, affect one in two Americans, and increasingly, people live with two or more chronic conditions. There is a great deal that can and must be done to reverse these trends. The month of May is Mental Health Month and an important time to raise awareness of the broad impact of mental health conditions throughout the U.S.
The IHS/PFCD research also estimates that potential savings in medical and societal costs could amount to $22.8 billion per year, or $342 billion by 2030. Like other chronic conditions, mental health conditions contribute heavily to productivity losses, but can also exacerbate unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness and even incarceration. There are, however, several opportunities for change that could confront such issues - raising awareness to address stigma, promoting the benefits of early identification and intervention, improving integration of medical and mental health care, especially for treatment adherence, and enhancing coverage for mental health treatment and services.
"The challenges facing Americans with mental health conditions are far too encompassing, issues with stigma, access to and coverage of quality care are all obstacles within our health care system that must be addressed. It is critical that all stakeholders proactively band together and take these issues head on in order to improve not just mental health, but overall wellness in an effort to reduce the human and economic toll of costly chronic conditions," said PFCD Chairman Ken Thorpe, PhD.

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs: chronic disease. 

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Jennifer Burke