Although mental illness has long been stigmatized, fortunately, things are beginning to change. Starting this year, dozens of health systems are adopting widespread solutions to address mental health conditions, including untreated depression, teen suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Here are some startling statistics:
· As of 2016, 44.7 million American adults had experienced a mental health illness.
· 35 percent of adults with a serious mental illness are not receiving mental health treatment.
· 25 percent of teenagers experience at least mild symptoms of depression.
Addressing mental health care is important because, in the long-term, a nationwide mental health crisis could impact our economic viability and gross domestic product. Mental illness is one of today’s top causes of worker disability. Mental health conditions are responsible for 62 percent of missed work days, and 42 percent of employees who have a mental health issue say they have come to work with suicidal feelings.
Consider that mental health was considered a pre-existing condition when individual health insurance policies required medical underwriting. This type of condition could trigger higher premiums, or coverage could be excluded. If the most recent district court ruling, which declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, is upheld, we may return to policies in which such pre-existing conditions can increase rates, are excluded from coverage or are the reason coverage is denied.
As more people have been diagnosed with mental health conditions in recent years, this could pose a very real and costly concern. If you’re looking for ways to help cover future medical costs, we can help you explore your options , so give our office a call.
The potential expense of cognitive care also is important when planning for retirement. If one or both spouses begin to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, a great deal of thought needs to go into long-term care and housing options. As for treatment, early diagnosis seems to be a key to lessening symptoms that often require more comprehensive caregiving.
If personal caregiving -- whether by a paid provider or family member -- is now part of your life or may be in the future, new resources are being developed constantly. For example, “memory cafés” are cropping up across the country. These gathering places for both those with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers are places to share camaraderie with others experiencing similar challenges.
Memory cafés offer programs designed to help those with dementia enjoy a higher quality of life, such as playing music from their past. These meet-up opportunities help mitigate the isolation frequently experienced in these situations and offer caregivers a break to commiserate without worrying about the social stigma of behavioral issues in public. It is a place where other people understand exactly what your life is like, and that is pretty extraordinary.
If interested, check out the nationwide Memory Café directory.
Raymond C. Lantz, Jr. is the president and founder of USA Wealth Group, Inc. Ray has many years of experience advising clients in retirement and sophisticated tax planning strategies, multi-family and commercial real estate projects, and legacy planning. Ray is a graduate of Clark University, holds a law degree from Boston College, and a master of laws in taxation from Boston University. You can hear him every Sunday on Money Wise with Ray Lantz on WBSM 1420AM or on the Radio Pup app.
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