The Global Financial Impact of Declining Mental Health
Most of us have health with a “bad mental health day” at one point or another, but few of us have conducted a thorough evaluation of the financial impact each of those mental health days have on our overall financial health and situation. While it may not seem to take a substantial toll on an individual, the global impact of declining mental health is vast, with some estimates suggesting more than a toll of around $2.5 trillion dollars annually. $53 billion of that is said to come from the United States’ mental health issues alone.
A single $100-$200 loss in a month or every month may not impact individual employees a great deal, businesses (both large and small) are experiencing a far more substantial issue. Although the cost of mental health is often identified as an issue, the cost is far more than the dollar amount going into therapy, and compounds the amount going to mental health professionals and the amount being lost in productivity and work days. The issue may be compounded further by people ignoring their mental health due to fear of spending money at the doctor’s office. People may rely on sites to determine the most likely diagnosis (sites such as this, for instance: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/blog/narcissistic-personality) rather than visiting a registered mental health professional.
How Mental Health Impacts the Economy
Mental health impacts the economy in a number of ways, among them the cost of therapy itself, and the cost of workers who are not able to perform at their peak or contribute time to work as a direct result of mental health issues, ranging from officially diagnosed conditions to a general feeling of being “off” or in need of some gentle support.
Mental health impacts the economy in three important ways: rising healthcare costs, losses in time spent working, and actual money being delivered to mental health professionals. To understand how significant each of these areas are, we’ll take a closer look at each one individually.
Rising Insurance Costs
Insurance is a business—and a substantial one, at that. As such, all services are created and measured in terms of risk and benefit. When healthcare costs rise, insurance companies consider higher levels of risk and raise their prices as a consequence. This cost then filters into the pockets of people being insured, and the cost of medical care in a given country. Rising insurance costs certainly benefit some (namely, the medical industry), but they wreak havoc on the financial bottom lines of companies and consumers, alike.
People who are dealing with mental health issues often experience issues with motivation, focus, and attention. Depression and anxiety alone are responsible for dramatic shifts in motivation and focus, and dealing with either of these mental health conditions can result in a noticeable decrease in productivity at work. While the number of hours worked and projects completed might not change, the attention to detail and quality of work in those hours and projects might. This results in harm to both the individual and the company.
Money Going Into Mental Health Industries
While it may not be problematic for healthcare industries, the sheer volume of money going into healthcare poses several problems. The first is the potential for people to be taken advantage of in a vulnerable state. The second is the potential for the sheer volume of money being delivered to mental health professionals potentially taking away from other important factors in a person’s budget, including the purchase of healthy food, or living expenses such as utilities and rent. Together, mental health costs prove problematic for individuals who cannot shoulder the costs, and companies eager to provide insurance for their employees, as regular use can make the cost of healthcare as a whole leap higher and higher.
The Financial Impact of Declining Mental Health
Although plenty of attention is paid to the different ways that mental health impacts day to day life, the financial impact of mental disorders often goes unexamined. Finances involving mental health involve everyone, from the newest employee at a small, local store, to the CEO of the insurance company responsible for paying for mental health services, and failing to acknowledge the very real financial repercussions of inadequate mental health support will result in ongoing economical damage.