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.