The economic concept of mental health is an essential element in the process of understanding and treating a person’s condition. Several factors can be used to determine the cost and effectiveness of an intervention. This article discusses some of these elements and provides an overview of the four basic principles that underlie the economic concept of mental health.
Understanding mental health-illness under four interrelated principles
The mental health of people is a crucial foundation for life. It is a key to learning, self-esteem, relationships, and emotional well-being.
Mental health is a multi-faceted concept, encompassing changes in an individual’s mood, thinking, and behavior. Treatment methods include medications, psychotherapy, and brain stimulation. Medication must only be used for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes.
In the United States, one in five adults has a mental illness. Many of these individuals can recover from their condition. However, stigma prevents many from seeking treatment. This is why mental health professionals call for increased access to and quality care for those who need it.
A person with a mental illness has the right to exercise their civil rights, including protection from exploitation and abuse. All medical and health facilities must provide the best available mental health services.
Several cultures express mental health conditions differently. While some discuss the topic in terms of contentment, others use social and psychological approaches to explain the development of mental health.
For instance, the Disease/Medical/Biological approach explains mental health as an interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors. Some therapists use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to define 265 disorders.
Cost-effectiveness and affordability of interventions
When considering the cost-effectiveness and affordability of mental health interventions, policymakers may use different strategies to address the affordability issue. These policies can range from limiting the number of target patients to collective negotiation with manufacturers. However, some of these responses may be ethically problematic. Nevertheless, the availability of relevant cost-effectiveness information should enhance decision-making value.
In general, cost-effectiveness is an evaluation of the effectiveness of a particular intervention. In other words, it measures how efficiently resources are used in a healthcare system. The efficiency of an intervention is measured by the probability that a particular activity is more effective than a control activity. This is important for healthcare priority-setters because they can choose an intervention likely to produce reasonably priced benefits.
A simple but essential rule of thumb is that an intervention is cost-effective if it has an ICER below CET. This is known as the threshold. An ICER above this is considered to be unaffordable.
A more sophisticated approach is to take into account opportunity cost. Opportunity cost refers to the difference between a given health benefit and the price per unit of health lost due to the adoption of the intervention. If a given health benefit is greater than the opportunity cost, it is considered a “win-win.”
Many variables influence the cost-effectiveness threshold. These include the budget available to the health system, the intensity of the demand for a specific treatment, and the development of new health technologies.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered high rates of depression and anxiety and caused many mental health problems. However, the data is limited, and it is not clear whether the effects are long-term.
Some factors have been associated with better outcomes. For example, there are positive correlations between personality traits and psychological outcomes. But, more research is needed to examine the long-term impact of the pandemic on mental health.
Women are more likely to report depressive symptoms than men. Females also have a higher rate of anxiety. This is not surprising, given the female gender’s association with anxiety and poor self-rated health.
The younger generation has been the most affected, particularly by the disruptions to education and social interactions. This has led to social isolation and affective problems. In addition, young people have spent more extended periods online and have been less socially active.
A systematic review of relevant literature highlighted some critical risk factors. It also provided suggestions for addressing the mental health crisis.
Younger age, higher education, and the presence of a family member who has been infected with COVID-19 are all risk factors. Unemployed people and those with lower socioeconomic status also have higher rates of mental distress.