Mental Health Problems and Physical Health

An incredibly well researched article in the journal JAMA Psychiatry summarized a body of research on the impact of mental health conditions on overall mortality in the world population and concluded that roughly 10% of all mortality was related to mental health problems.

As I’ve recently been wrestling with problems helping people get access to treatment I thought it might be worth considering that 10% mortality figure and looking at the most recent data on per capita expenditures for mental health and then for overall health in California.


Mental health expenditures as compared with overall health care

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in the last year Californians spent 152 dollars per person on mental health. They spent 6,238$ per person on overall health. This is illustrated in the chart to the left.

On the right side of this page you can see the percent of mortality

Mental health mortality as a percent of total mortality

Mental health mortality as a percent of total mortality

attributable to mental health diagnoses as opposed to other health conditions.

When I consider the lack of willingness to pay for mental health care on the part of a number of health care organizations, including Kaiser, I think that these two graphs illustrate the consequences of these decisions.

Perhaps this article will help to change this irrational decision-making.