The High Cost of Mental Disorders

Background:

The High Cost of Mental Disorders: A Blueprint for employer action to implement cost-effective care solutions report conducted in collaboration with Tufts Medical Center, offers companies a blueprint to make key strategic decisions about how best to serve their employees, by fostering a healthy culture of action and empathy around mental health in the workplace.

Depression alone affects 6-7% of American adults, costs an estimated $210 billion annually, and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. The impact of mental illness can be especially devastating in the workplace, where mental health challenges can often be dismissed or stigmatized. “The High Cost of Mental Disorders” report is a detailed review of medical literature to assess which mental health care options are most cost effective for the care of two of the most common and costly mental disorders in the working population: depression and anxiety.

Our assessment of the medical literature has revealed three primary insights:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy and collaborative care are the interventions whose cost-effectiveness is best supported by research.

  2. Depression screening, telehealth, suicide prevention and return to work-focused interventions have been shown to be cost-effective, although they haven’t been studied as thoroughly.

  3. Evidence on the cost-effectiveness of mental health interventions is growing rapidly. With more research, new cost-effective solutions will likely be identified