Scaling up of Anxiety and Depression Treatment can Boost Global Economy: WHO

In less than a quarter century, the number of people suffering from depression or anxiety increased by nearly 50 percent globally — from 416 million in 1990 to 615 million in 2013, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Not only do these mental conditions take a toll on patients’ health, finances and family life, they also impact the economy of a nation at large.

A recent study has revealed that scaling up the treatment for anxiety and depression can actually strengthen the global economy. According to the WHO-led study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry in April 2016, for every U.S. dollar invested in treating depression and anxiety, a $4 can be yielded through better health and ability to work. The study strongly recommended various countries to make significant investments in the area of mental health.

Depression and anxiety not only cause an enormous amount of human misery and lost health, but also lead to low economic output. The study looked at a global investment case to counteract the implications of depression and anxiety disorders on public health and economy of a nation.

Depression, anxiety disorders public health challenge worldwide

For the global return on investment (ROI) analysis, the researchers used mental health module of the OneHealth tool to figure out treatment costs and health outcomes in 36 countries during 2016–2030. “Because depression and anxiety disorders represent a public health challenge worldwide, we did a global investment appraisal in low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries,” the researchers said.

The researchers assumed a linear increase in the treatment coverage. They also estimated a modest improvement of 5 percent in the ability to work and productivity at work as a result of treatment while mapping it to the current labor participation and GDP per worker in each country.

The report revealed that it would cost the U.S. about $147 billion to scale up its cost of treatment, however, the return would be much higher than the expense. It would also result in a 5 percent improvement in worker participation and an increase in productivity valued at $399 billion. With improved health, there will be another addition of $310 billion in returns, which is more than double of the government’s ROI.

When only economic benefits are considered across country income groups, the resulting benefit to cost ratios amount to 2·3–3·0 to 1. It becomes 3·3–5·7 to 1 when the value of health returns is also included, according to the report.

Sometimes, humanitarian needs and emergencies also compound the need for such scaled up investments on mental health because during emergencies, one out of five people develops depression and anxiety problem. The researchers believed that this type of ROI analysis can strongly contribute to a balanced investment case for a prompt action to address the large and growing burden of common mental disorders worldwide.

Loss of productivity due to depression or anxiety can be a huge loss for the economy of a nation or at a global level. It is important to tackle such issues urgently and scale-up investments for the treatment of mental health conditions. It will eventually uplift the health and economy of the people and the nation by boosting work performance and productivity.

Anxiety and depression are highly treatable disorders. Texas has some of the best centers for treatment. If a loved one in the family is suffering from anxiety and you are looking for anxiety disorders treatment in Texas, call the Texas Mental Health Helpline at our 24/7 helpline number 866–596–4708 for immediate assistance. Our experts can guide you to the best anxiety disorders treatment center in Texas.

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