Tuesday, October 16, 2018 | ePaper

Mental health: The costliest forms of sickness for US economy

  • Print


Life Desk  :
A few bad days associated with mental health may be causing U.S. economy billions of dollars, finds a new study. The findings of this study are published in The Review of Regional Studies journal.
Poor mental health ranks as one of the costliest forms of sickness for U.S. workers and may sap billions of dollars from the country's income growth.
'One single extra poor mental health day was associated with a 1.84 percent drop in the U.S per capita real income, resulting in a yearly loss of $53 billion income.'
In an analysis of economic and demographic data from 2008 to 2014, the researchers found that a single extra poor mental health day in a month was associated with a 1.84 percent drop in the per capita real income growth rate, resulting in $53 billion less total income each year, said Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics, Penn State, and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.
"This starts to give us an idea of what the gain could be, if we did spend more money to help people with poor mental health," said Goetz, who worked with Meri Davlasheridze, assistant professor and economist, Texas A&M University at Galveston and Yicheol Han, postdoctoral scholar in agricultural economics, sociology and education, Penn State.
Poor mental health days refer to days when people describe their mental health as not good and could include conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress and problems with emotions, according to the researchers, who report their findings in a current issue of the Review of Regional Studies. The measure does not include diagnosed mental illnesses.
To give some sense of the size of the problem, the researchers added that the global economic cost of mental illness is expected to be more than $16 trillion over the next 20 years, which is more than the cost of any other non-communicable disease.
The effect is stronger in rural counties, which tend to be poorer than urban counties. A poor mental health day in rural counties was associated with a reduction of 2.3 percent in income growth, compared with only a .87 percent reduction in urban counties.
"That's an interesting finding in itself, too, because poorer counties already have so many factors going against them," said Goetz. "If poor mental health days have a bigger impact in these poorer counties, it suggests that they would have an even harder time keeping up with the wealthy counties."
Urban counties might have more resources for people struggling with poor mental health and conditions, according to Goetz. These communities typically have more mental treatment facilities, as well.
"We think this difference between urban and rural counties might exist because of the better services that are available for the mentally distressed in the urban counties, which are typically the wealthier counties," he said. "In an urban county, you might have a mental health center, you may have more resources to tap into to help get you through the bad days, and there may be more mental health professionals. In a rural area, you're less likely to have access to those types of resources."
The researchers suggest that investing in mental health resources may be one way of lowering the economic costs of poor mental health, particularly in the harder-hit rural counties.
Goetz cautioned that the period covered in the study was a particularly tumultuous time for the U.S. economy and could have an effect on the findings. To further test the effect of poor mental health days on income growth, he suggested researchers study the relationship over longer time periods and under different economic conditions.
Source: Eurekalert

More News For this Category

Are screens endangering your love life?

Are screens endangering your love life?

Susan Heitler Ph.D. :There's no doubt about it.  Screens are here to stay.  All of us have married the internet "for better or for worse, in sickness and in

Save the ecosystem

Save the ecosystem

Wahseka Lanee :Ecosystem consists of all living and nonliving things that depend on each other to survive people are destroying different ecosystem by different way and threats. Ecosystem is

An inspirational story of love

An inspirational story of love

Linda and Charlie Bloom :Despite his age of 79, Jose was possessed of the spirit, curiosity, sense of humor, and playfulness of a child. That would be enough to make

BD preparing for world skills competition 2019 in Russia

BD preparing for world skills competition 2019 in Russia

Life News :Bangladesh is going to participate at World Skills Competition 2109 at Kazan in Russia aiming at branding the country at the global forum as a skilled nation.As part

World Breast Cancer Awareness Month

World Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Life News :Every year 22,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Bangladesh. Among them, 70 percent of the women die without any medical treatment. Breast cancer is the second

Is social media making you lonely?

Is social media making you lonely?

Shainna Ali Ph.D., LMHC :We are plagued by a loneliness epidemic.  In the last fifty years, regardless of geographic location, gender, race, or ethnicity, rates of loneliness have doubled in

Small exercise breaks during work recharges brain

Small exercise breaks during work recharges brain

Life Desk :Getting a mental blockage while at work is a usual occurrence. During the long working hours, if the thinking part of your body is not given a

United Hospital observes World Heart Day

United Hospital observes World Heart Day

Life Desk :The theme of World Heart Day for the year 2018 is "My heart, Your heart". Like every year, United Hospital observed World Heart Day this year in

Genes control heart's response to exercise

Genes control heart's response to exercise

Life Desk :Whether your heart beats faster or how your blood pressure responds while exercising all depends on your genes. The way a person's heart reacts to exercise can

World Heart Day: Looking after 'All Our Hearts'

World Heart Day: Looking after 'All Our Hearts'

Prof. Dr. Gobinda Chandra Das :World Heart Day has been observed on 29th September across the world, including in Bangladesh. The day, an annual event, is the World Heart