How much does quality mental health care profit employers?

J Occup Environ Med. 2005 Nov;47(11):1099-109. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000177124.60460.25.


Objective: Employers provide most American mental health benefits and are increasingly cost conscious. However, commonplace anxiety and depressive disorders have enormous economic and workplace performance costs.

Methods: We performed multiple literature searches on several areas of pertinent research (and on key articles) covering the past 5 years.

Results: Substantial research exists about anxiety and depression costs, such as performance and productivity, absenteeism, presenteeism, disability, physical disability exacerbation, mental health treatment, increased medical care costs, exacerbating of physical illness, and studies of mental health care limitations and cost-offset. Research addressing the potential value of higher quality mental health care is limited.

Conclusions: Commonplace anxiety and depressive disorders are costly in the workplace. Employers and researchers remain largely unaware of the value of quality care and psychiatric skills. Effective solutions involve the increased use of psychiatric skills and appropriate treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / economics*
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Depressive Disorder / economics*
  • Depressive Disorder / prevention & control
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Employer Health Costs*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / economics*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Occupational Health Services / economics*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United States
  • Workplace / economics