The harmful effects of poor behavioral health care are widely underestimated. Poor behavioral health affects the system in three ways:

1. Direct Healthcare Costs

First is the $200 billion per year in direct behavioral healthcare costs, representing 10% of total U.S. healthcare expenditures. Ballooning pharmacy costs and expenses relating to inpatient, diversionary, and outpatient services are contributors. Despite increased spending, behavioral health problems too often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, leading to poor care delivery and bad outcomes for patients.

2. Productivity Losses

At least $100 billion is lost in productivity in the US each year due to behavioral health conditions, in the forms of absenteeism and unproductive job performance.

3. Co-Morbidity with Chronic Conditions

More than 35% of patients dealing with chronic diseases — including asthma, COPD, CHF, CAD, and diabetes — also suffer from serious behavioral health issues. Care is too often uncoordinated, adding to the problem. Conservative estimates are that more than $420 billion is spent annually on patients with co-morbid physical chronic and behavioral health conditions. Because chronic disease management programs often ignore behavioral conditions, they often underperform in measures of both patient outcomes and containing costs.