Psychiatric Disabilities Cost Employers $150 Billion Annually.
In light of the government's mental health report issued from
Washington, D.C., in December, employers need to be proactive in
providing mental health benefits, according to Dave Dintenfass, head of
PricewaterhouseCooper's national behavioral health practice.
Dintenfass, based in Tampa, says employer initiatives are crucial
because of the tremendous direct and indirect costs associated with
psychiatric disabilities -$150 billion annually. To assist employees
with behavioral health problems who don't seek treatment,
Dintenfass says employers need to focus on screening and prevention,
just as many large employers do with programs to combat cardiac disease.
Wellness programs also can identify previously undiagnosed depression
and anxiety disorders that compromise worker productivity. Once affected
employees are identified, they can be referred for treatment.
"Certainly one could make the argument that mental health parity
with other health benefits is vital," Dintenfass concludes.