How Can Early Treatment of Serious Mental Illness Improve Lives and Save Money?

Early treatment and intervention for mental illness can improve lives and ultimately lower related health care costs.

Mental health coverage is included in the 2010 Affordable Care Act's essential health benefits package, yet is not well-integrated into the current U.S. health care system. Critical gaps exist, leaving many people at risk for lifelong disabilities, hospitalization, jail time, or suicide.

Serious mental illness incurs huge personal, social, and economic costs, including an estimated $193 billion a year in lost earnings alone. Early detection and intervention can help reduce the toll of serious mental illness.

Some states are moving toward early detection and intervention models, however, the U.S. health care system currently is not equipped to make such programs widely available.

This Health Policy Snapshot, published in March 2013, examines the prevalence of mental disease in the U.S., and describes how early treatment and intervention can improve lives and ultimately lower related health care costs.

Read more from RWJF's Health Policy Snapshot series.

 

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National Demonstration of Early Detection, Intervention and Prevention of Psychosis in Adolescents and Young Adults (EDIPPP)

EDIPPP is a treatment and research initiative with the potential to dramatically improve the way we address the mental health needs of adolescents and young adults. By reaching out to people who regularly interact with youth, including family members, teachers, social workers, doctors and nurses, the program educates individuals regarding the early signs of severe mental illness so they can identify teens and young adults who are at risk. Psychosis, if not diagnosed and treated effectively, can lead to isolation, difficulty handling academics or employment, and greater risk for disability, homelessness, and/or involvement with the criminal justice system. Severe mental illness is the fifth-leading cause of disability and premature mortality among all medical disorders. EDIPPP is demonstrating that it is possible to stop severe mental illness in its tracks and put young people on a path to more normal, healthy lives.

 

More from National Demonstration of Early Detection, Intervention and Prevention of Psychosis in Adolescents and Young Adults (EDIPPP)

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