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Counseling therapies reduce cost of healthcare and impact at work

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Referring patients with mental health problem to talk therapies can potentially cut the amount of healthcare service a person needs as well as the amount of sick time a person uses. This is according to research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

To calculate the impact of mental health issues like depression and anxiety, as well as the impact they have on healthcare usage and sick time, researchers evaluated data from over 152,000 patients registered with general practitioners in different parts of England.

They tallied the number of sick notes that doctors wrote to employers, antidepressant prescriptions, emergency care usage, outpatient clinic visits and the number of admissions to hospitals as well as length of stay.

They compared the number of people who used these services to the ones who used talk therapy or counseling under the UK government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services.

They discovered that those with common mental health problems used more health resources compared to those without. People with common mental health issues were five times more likely to be prescribed with antidepressants and admitted to the hospital. They had longer hospital stays and ten times the sick notes.

“There were marked differences between those with common mental health problems and people referred to IAPT and the rest of the registered population. At a time when there is pressure to control increasing health costs, this study suggests that IAPT may contribute to reducing health service usage.”

They are recommending finding more ways to get people aware of and into the IAPT programs to improve their health and the impact to workplace and community.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

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