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Mental illness exacts 'enormous toll' for US businesses and institutions

are costs, but also "indirect" costs stemming from suicide, increased medical morbidity, reduced adherence to outpatient treatment leading to relapse and hospitalization, lost wages caused by missed work, and decreased workplace productivity.

Langlieb cited a 1998 study of more than 46,000 employees which estimated that each employee with depression generated $3,189 in annual health care costs compared with $1,679 annually for non-mental health illnesses. If depressed employees also were under high stress, the cost skyrocketed: 147 percent more was spent on health care for these individuals than on those with depression alone.

Langlieb said the best way to combat these costs is to guarantee that employees have access to quality, specialized psychiatric evaluations. "Studies are showing that if you start with a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and create a treatment plan that might then involve psychologists, primary care and/or social work, employees will have less disability, greater work productivity and improved quality of life compared with those who received evaluation and treatment solely by a primary care provider."

Langlieb said quality treatment might be more expensive in the short term, but the long-term benefits clearly outweigh the initial treatment costs. "The old adage that you get what you pay for applies here," he said.


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Contact: Eric Vohr
evohr1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
10-Nov-2005


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