A World Health Organization (WHO)-led study argues investing in treating depression and anxiety benefits global economies, CNN reports.
This study found that every U.S. dollar invested in treating depression and anxiety led to a $4 return in improved health and increased ability to work.
“We know that treatment of depression and anxiety makes good sense for health and well-being; this new study confirms that it makes sound economic sense, too,” stated Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO.
The researchers estimated treatment costs and health outcomes for 36 nations from 2016 to 2030.
Through these estimates, the study deduced that an increase in the cost of treatment in the U.S. would cost roughly $147 billion, but would almost double in returns through a 5% increase in worker productivity – valued at $310 billion.
Despite the large amount of people struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders, countries tend to invest little in mental health care.
According to WHO’s Mental Health Atlas 2014 survey, most governments only spend 3% of their health budgets on mental health. Wealthier nations spend 5% and poorer ones spend less than 1%.
There are millions of people worldwide who suffer from a mental health disorder. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common.
According to WHO, the amount of people struggling with depression or anxiety increased from 416 million to 615 million globally – a nearly 50% increase.
“This is not just a public health issue,” said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, “it’s a development issue. We need to act now because the lost productivity is something the global economy simply cannot afford.”