Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

EDITORIAL COMMENTARY
Year
: 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 309--310

Addressing the public health concern of depression and anxiety disorders: Financial perspective


Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute,3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Addressing the public health concern of depression and anxiety disorders: Financial perspective.Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:309-310


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Addressing the public health concern of depression and anxiety disorders: Financial perspective. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Aug 6 ];10:309-310
Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/2/309/196801


Full Text

Globally, depression and anxiety disorder accounts for a significant percentage of the total burden of the disease and is expected to be the second most frequent reason for disability by the end of the second decade of the 21st century.[1] Further, it has been anticipated that depression and anxiety are expected to be the most common illnesses by the end of the century, especially among women.[1],[2] In fact, the trends suggest that the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety has been augmented by almost 50% (in excess of 600 million) between the time intervals of 1990 to 2013.[1]

In addition, at times of humanitarian emergencies or other disasters, almost one out of every five individuals will be affected by depression and anxiety.[1] Depression has been identified as a serious health condition, which not only interferes with the ability of an individual to work or prevents them to exercise their role in the society, but even leads to the act of suicides.[2],[3] Further, these mental disorders are associated with impairment in the quality of life, serious consequences on family life, reduced productivity due to sickness absenteeism, burden on the health system, and even exclusion from the society.[2],[3],[4]

Despite the availability of effective modes of treatment for these conditions, less than 50% of affected people only receive the desired treatment worldwide, with the scenario being extremely worse in low-resource settings.[1],[5] This poor utilization of mental health services has been attributed to resource and infrastructure constraints, lack of trained specialists, and stigma associated with mental illnesses.[2],[3],[4],[5] In addition, issues like wrong diagnosis or incorrect therapy or even poor surveillance for the mental disorders have complicated the problem.[4],[5]

From the financial perspective, it has been estimated that depression and anxiety disorders together lead to an expenditure of US$1 trillion annually, which is an alarming amount of expenditure on those illnesses which can be easily modified, provided they are diagnosed in the early stages and managed appropriately.[1] In fact, it has been further proposed that by ensuring an investment of every US$ 1 in scaling-up of treatment (viz., psychosocial counseling and medications) of these conditions, it will result in a health and monetary return of almost four times, owing to the gained amount of time spent by the people in better health and their improved ability to work.[1]

It is very important to understand that restoration of mental health no longer remains a public health issue, but it is more of a development concern, as they are associated with loss of productivity and a decline in the growth of the global economy.[1],[5] Though, millions of individuals are affected by mental disorders, including depression and anxiety, it is quite shocking to know that across the world, most of the national government invest around only 3% of their overall health budget, which in no way can improve the living standards of the affected people.[1],[3] This is a serious concern as a loss in productivity, the global economy just cannot afford in the current era.[1],[3]

In order to deal with this issue, mental health has to be given a global priority, and one of the key measures to ensure the same is through increasing the investment in mental health by policy makers, development agencies, national and international agencies, and other stakeholders.[1] This pooled money should be utilized to develop a psychosocial care network, step-wise training of the health care professionals, expansion of services in the remote regions, strengthening of the existing resources, to maintain continuous supply of drugs, and to adopt innovative solutions.[1],[2].[3],[4],[5],[6]

To conclude, the global prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders is on the rise and thus treatment of the same has both health related and financial benefits attributed to it. Thus, it is our responsibility to ensure that access to mental health services becomes a reality for all irrespective of their geographical location.

Acknowledgement

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

References

1World Health Organization. Investing in treatment for depression and anxiety leads to fourfold return; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2016/depression-anxiety-treatment/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Apr 17].
2Bansal P, Chaudhary A, Soni RK, Sharma S, Gupta VK, Kaushal P. Depression and anxiety among middle-aged women: A community-based study. J Family Med Prim Care 2015;4:576-81.
3Mendelson T, Tandon SD. Prevention of depression in childhood and adolescence. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 2016;25:201-18.
4Spence SH, Sawyer MG, Sheffield J, Patton G, Bond L, Graetz B. Does the absence of a supportive family environment influence the outcome of a universal intervention for the prevention of depression?. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2014;11:5113-32.
5Muñoz RF, Bunge EL. Prevention of depression worldwide: a wake-up call. Lancet Psychiatry 2016;3:306-7.
6Johnstone J, Rooney RM, Hassan S, Kane RT. Prevention of depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescents: 42 and 54 months follow-up of the Aussie Optimism Program-Positive Thinking Skills. Front Psychol 2014;5:364.