2020 devastated US mental health — healing must be a priority | TheHill

2020 devastated US mental health — healing must be a priority | TheHill

It should have been obvious that a once-in-a century outlier event — shattering economies, throwing millions onto the unemployment rolls, shuttering schools, forcing isolation — combined with an outpouring of fury over racial injustice — would precipitate a tsunami of anguish, depression, anxiety and addiction. The result: a pandemic of despair of historic proportions rolled into a broader public health crisis. The crisis is now of such magnitude that a failure by legislators and policy makers to shore-up an overwhelmed mental health care system could cripple recovery. On a global scale, mental health and substance use needs are the single largest driver of disability costs worldwide — $2.5 trillion in 2010 and a projected $6 trillion by 2030. In the U.S., the annual economic burden of major depressive disorders exceeds $210 billion, while that of schizophrenia is $156 billion. Post-COVID forecasts warn that the cost of treating widespread anxiety and depression will create a $1.6 trillion drag on the US economy. The National Alliance on Mental Health estimates that untreated mental illness already costs us up to $300 billion annually …
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