Untreated mental illnesses cost Indiana $4.2B in 1 year

The cost of untreated mental illness in Indiana cost the state $4.2 billion in 2019, which represents about 1.2% of the state's gross domestic product, according to an Oct. 24 report from Medscape. 

Costs include direct healthcare, non-healthcare and indirect costs from untreated mental illnesses among state residents. 

The study, published Oct. 13 in JAMA Health Forum, was led by Heather Taylor, PhD, of Bloomington-based Indiana University's school of public health. 

The research team estimated individual, family, workplace and community costs associated with untreated mental illness in the state using an approach and framework that can be replicated across other states. 

Researchers determined the prevalence of untreated mental illness from a survey of Indiana's population in 2019 and data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for adults and the National Survey of Children's Health for kids. 

Of 6,179,105 people included in the analysis, 429,407 had a mental illness. The prevalence of mental illness was 22.6% among adults and 25.9% among children. Among adults, 5.9% had severe mental illness. Over half of adults with severe mental illness did not receive mental health treatment in the previous 12 months, and more than a quarter of adults with any mental illness did not receive treatment. 

The study estimates that the total economic burden of untreated mental illness in the state during the study period was somewhere between $2.1 billion and $7.1 billion. The average amounts to $3.3 billion in indirect costs, $708.5 million in direct healthcare costs and $185.4 million in non-healthcare costs, according to the report. 

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