Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Serious Costs of Mental Health

What perfect timing in this political environment to discuss the costs that metal health imposes on our nation. With the health reform bill the hot topic of discussion in Washington it is imperative that elected officials give serious consideration to reforming the mental health system. Looking back on previous legislation and by simply looking around hospitals it is easy to see that the mental health department is one of the first to get cuts in the budget. I have attached an article that gives statistics on how much mental health costs burden the American economy. The author Micheal Hogan discusses how most of the mental health costs are 'indirect costs' rather than 'direct costs'. Direct costs would be for example hospitals visits while indirect costs are the costs of an individual not being able to contribute to the workforce.

This report is very helpful for forming public policy in regards to mental health because it gives statistics to back up how mental health diseases are effecting the country. It is important for the economy to pass meaningful legislation that would improve conditions for mental health patients.

Below is a link to the journal article by Hogan:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Stress and the Economy

While I am no expert in the mental health field I found it worthwhile to focus my attentions towards something I care about-economics. Then I thought about how the two disciplines interact with each other. I know most people in the health professions put economics on the back burner but I believe examining the economics of health care is an imperative part of this field, especially narrowing down the health field to focus primarily on mental health.

It is no surprise to me that when researching how mental health conditions affect the economy there was not much out there. That is because the United States offer little funds in this area. I have decided to link an article as my first blog post to show how the economy is affecting our population's mental health. While the article is from around a year ago I feel the information in it is still relevant given our economy has somewhat stayed the same.

Mental stress spirals with economy - USA Today 3.12.2009

The article explains how the downswing in the economny produces and enviornment where Americans are experiencing worsened mental health. Some higlights from a poll given to over 300,000 Americans include the stress from the economy are keeping people up at night. Stress is also accumulated from the ability to pay medical bills. While these two are no suprise for most the article aslo touches on how Hispanics are the most emotionally affected by the economy.