Mental illness to surpass healthcare costs

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I love thumbing through Tweets, skimming research, statistics and findings. But some, like this one, shock and disturb me.

Foreign Affairs (@ForeignAffairs)

By 2030, mental illness will cost the world more than cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases combined:

The current and projected economic burden that disease bears globally predicts that “the largest source of those tremendous future costs would be mental disorders, which the report forecast would account for more than a third of the global economic burden of non-communicable diseases by 2030.”[1]

Knowing that a quarter of the U.S. population will suffer from clinical depression at some point in their lives makes me thankful for Christian psychiatrists like my friend Dr. Karl Benzio. He founded and is executive director of Lighthouse Network, an addiction and mental-health counseling helpline.

1 in 4 in the U.S. will suffer from clinical depression at some point in their lives Click to Tweet

After the rattling depression-linked suicide of actor Robin Williams last year, Dr. Benzio tried to help shed light on the tragedy…

“Depression comes from the wounds and adversities that we have trouble processing and finding an answer to. When compounded by self-medicating substance abuse, the ticking time bomb can go off at any time. No one is immune to the devastation caused by the tentacles of depression. Robin Williams’ tragic death is a grim reminder of how complex behavioral health issues are to understand, live with and treat. We need reform and awareness, and we need to bring God back into the healing process. Nothing else is powerful enough to bring lasting healing and transformation.”

Mental illness is often the subject of criticism and debate. Many in the Church quibble over whether science and medicine or faith and the Bible are more effective approaches to treating mental health disorders.

Dr. Benzio believes the answer is both. The Christian way of life brings to the table characteristics and a source of strength that can battle everything from drug addiction and eating disorders to depression and suicidal thoughts. Without a doubt, coupling faith-based principles with treatment gives a greater chance for life to be restored. [3]

If someone you know suffers an injury or ailment, you tell them to go see a doctor. They are prescribed a course of treatment to return them to health. If someone you know suffers from a mental disorder, encourage them to do the same and reach out for help. It is available.

While I am saddened by what the economic statistics indicate about the state of our nation’s mental health, I am thankful that the people in my circle (I have a lot of 1 in 4’s) live in a time when help for mental illness is available—especially many wonderful Biblically-based options.