Depression Costs the Country Billions in Lost Productivity.   It’s Time We Started Helping People Get Back to Work

Sagar V. Parikh

Sagar V. Parikh, M.D., FRCPC
University of Michigan, Medical Director, NNDC

Care for Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the National Network of Depression Centers in developing this post.

Work is a significant part of daily life. Whether or not a person feels comfortable on the job influences their overall well-being—and our society’s economic health. For anyone suffering from depression, work-related productivity is a key indicator of health status, one we can’t afford to ignore.

Depression-related absenteeism and presenteeism (when employees are present for work but less productive due to their illness) have staggering economic consequences: absenteeism alone is estimated to cost U.S. employers upwards of 23 billion dollars per year.

And it’s not just the economy that suffers. Most significantly, patients suffer too. For a large minority, alleviating mood issues isn’t enough. They may have concentration, focus, or fatigue issues, and need additional help in order to get back to feeling like themselves and performing successfully at work.

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Repealing the ACA Could Cause a Mental Health Care Crisis

Jeffrey Harman, PhD
College of Medicine, Florida State University

Care For Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the National Network of Depression Centers for developing this post.

Our nation’s healthcare system has made impressive progress in the last several years. As a direct result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we’ve reached a record low uninsured rate; the number of unpaid medical bills (or bad debt) has plummeted; and 20 million Americans now have insurance purchased through the ACA marketplace.

But there are imminent threats facing this hard-won progress. Our newly-elected president is staunchly opposed to the ACA. He and congressional Republicans have vowed to repeal Obamacare, with no clear plan for what would replace it.

If they succeed, our country could be facing a health care crisis of unprecedented proportions. Millions of Americans could lose their coverage; hospitals could go bankrupt; people could pay thousands more in out-of-pocket costs.

Is our current healthcare system perfect? Of course not. But it’s a lot better than it was eight years ago, particularly for people living with mental health conditions. We need to continue to improve on what we’ve built, not abandon all progress and attempt to start from scratch.

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Faster and Easier Approaches for Improving Patients’ Depression Treatment Outcomes

Michael E. Thase, M.D.

Michael E. Thase, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Director, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Treatment and Research Program
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Care For Your Mind acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration of the National Network of Depression Centers for developing this post.

Depression affects more than 15 million Americans and it’s the leading underlying factor for people who attempt suicide. Only half of Americans diagnosed with major depression receive treatment. Because earlier diagnosis and treatment improve outcomes, mental health screenings should be a top priority.

We need to do a better job of identifying and treating people with depression. Research shows that screenings in primary care practices are a key part of the solution. Depression screenings are simple questionnaires that doctors can provide for patients. Earlier this year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation that primary care screenings be implemented for all adults, including perinatal women.

While screenings are the first step, treatment is the second, and there’s no reason why accessing treatment shouldn’t be a quicker, more effective process for the majority of patients.

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Patient-Focused Drug Development Gets a Boost From the 21st Century Cures Act

Medication

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Congress gave mental health advocates a year-end present by passing mental health reform legislation as part of the 21st Century Cures Act and sending it to President Obama for signature. This is the third of three CFYM posts that highlight key pieces of the legislation that benefit individuals living with mood disorders and their families.

The December 13 and December 20 CFYM posts focused on the mental health reform package that became part of the 21st Century Cures Act. This bipartisan legislation passed the U.S. House in July, had support in the Senate and from the President, and was well-positioned for a successful journey to becoming law. What most advocates had not foreseen, however, was that the mental health reform legislation that had been in advancing in varying degrees in both Chambers would be included in that bill.

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