Tuesday, May 13, 2008

At What Cost?

Serious mental illness cost the U.S. at least $193 billion a year in lost earnings, estimates a new study by the National Institute of Mental Health. This staggering figure just begins the scratch the surface of the financial toll schizophrenia and other serious illnesses cause.

In fact, we know this study included very few people with schizophrenia. Nor did it access people in hospitals or prisons. The number is undoubtedly much, much higher. This leads to some obvious question:

Why did a NIMH study leave these patients out?
How much higher could the real figure be? Twenty percent? Fifty percent? Double?

And, most importantly: At what cost do we as a nation get serious in providing access to treatment?