Untreated Depression Drives Up Healthcare Costs

By |Published On: August 25th, 2022|

Proper treatment for mental illness is essential, helping patients regulate their symptoms and reduce rates of substance abuse, unemployment, and illegal activity so they can lead healthier, happier lifestyles. Yet, out of 35.4 million adults struggling with mental illness, nearly 23 million are untreated, according to data from the Government Accountability Office’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Many people who struggle don’t seek ways to address their challenges, dismissing their diagnosis or disregarding the need for treatment. 

As time progresses and individuals continue to disregard mental health issues and postpone professional treatment, symptoms only worsen, and the more significant the mental and physical damage becomes, the more expensive the treatment. In fact, data from the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry shows that people who are depressed and resisting treatment pay $17,000 a year for healthcare, while depressed patients seeking treatment pay an average of $9,700 annually for healthcare. This difference is immense, especially when calculated for a lifetime. 

Why exactly are these costs so expensive? According to The Center for Workplace Mental Health, employers lose 44 billion dollars annually from untreated employees. This loss stems from reduced productivity, work attendance and potential emergency department visits once the situation escalates.  

Given the large majority of people with untreated behavioral health issues and the costs associated with it, let’s explore how we can potentially shorten the distance between need and care for individuals suffering from behavioral health issues and how they can acknowledge and seek treatment. Education and awareness are a substantial piece of this puzzle. Employers, insurance companies and providers can educate and share resources around mental health conditions including signs and symptoms and encourage individuals to seek help. Mental health content and resources should be integrated into all communications within healthcare whether in a workplace or clinical setting, routine depression screenings and screening tools should be used by health plans and providers.  

Remote and at-home care has also proven to be able to make a profound difference in both the diagnosis and the management of various behavioral health conditions like depression, anxiety, stress and more. These interventions can influence the behavioral health issues that intersect with and influence care related to serious and urgent and chronic physical health conditions. In a time when more and more individuals are experiencing mental health issues and are, paradoxically, finding it more difficult to access in-person care, remote behavioral health treatment options help to increase access to lifesaving treatment, improve daily quality of life for vulnerable populations and decrease escalation to potentially urgent situations. 

In addition to access to care and helping individuals receive care, how do we keep individuals motivated, accountable and supported 24-hours-a-day for as long as they need in order to improve their mental health once actively in treatment? GoMo Health’s highly scalable solutions proactively manage complex health and life situations by treating people holistically, not just treating their specific disease. We become a partner and supporter in a person’s day-to-day lifestyle; understanding no two people are identical when viewed from a combined emotional, behavioral, physical, and metabolic perspective. With this guiding principle in mind, BehavioralRx® precisely treats each person, increasing adherence to health and wellness regimens. 

To experience these principles in action, click below to schedule a demo and download our white paper on “Transforming the Perception of Mental Health Community Services” to learn how one of our behavioral health programs measured an initial increase of 40.9% in participant retention, translating into a $162,529 annual revenue increase in just one year.  

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