We often report about the psychological toll of mental illness, but while researching a story today I came across a study that documents the economic toll of psychiatric disorders–especially when they are not adequately treated.
Researchers at Harvard collaborated with colleagues at the World Health Organization to survey individuals in 19 countries. They found that people with a serious mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or addiction earned, on average, one-third less per year than other people. The findings held true in high-income countries like the United States as well as in low and middle-income countries like Brazil and India.
You can read the abstract of the study, which appears in the August 2010 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Depressing? Yes. But studies like this remind me why it’s so important to educate people about treatment options, and to encourage people to seek treatment.