Sharing – Lack of Access to Mental Health Treatment Reduces Lifetime Income

The study was one of those studies that becomes available because of almost an accident of history. Denmark decided to make lithium available to everyone for free for the treatment of bipolar, so to measure the impact of that decision researchers could look at people living with bipolar prior to that decision versus after. The economic difference is pretty significant. Would you get the same result in every situation for every mental health issue? Probably not the exact same, but I also think this statement makes sense:

““The findings speak to the case of places like the U.S.”—those without universal healthcare—“because basically what the results are saying is that if mental health conditions go untreated, then the people who are going to suffer the most are the people who are already worse off now.””

Look, we know that untreated mental health issues impact people’s lives in many ways. Would the lack of treatment at 20 for bipolar make a huge difference in lifetime income? Of course, it would impact the ability to even finish college successfully and that would then continue to impact things significantly. Would the need to take leaves of absence or go to work every day with depression and no access to help for that cause you to be less successful? Again, statistically, I think that would be obvious that it happens more times than not.

Lack of access to mental health care is a risk for losing people, and it’s a risk that people we don’t lose still struggle economically as well as in their personal lives. It also creates yet another gap between those of us privileged to be able to access care and those who are not able to.

That should not a reason for an income gap. We owe it to everyone to figure out a way to make treatment available to anyone who needs it.

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