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‘Mental, behavioral disorders’ social costs larger than their medical expense’
  • By Shim Hyun-tai
  • Published 2020.06.02 18:28
  • Updated 2020.06.02 18:28
  • comments 0

Indirect social and economic costs caused by psychological and behavioral disorders exceed burdens resulting from the use of medical services to cure them, according to recent research.

The research team, led by Professor Yoon Suk-joon of Korea University College of Medicine, calculated disability-adjusted life years (DALY) by adding the years of life lost (YLL) to years lived with disability (YLD). DALY quantifies the loss of years due to specific diseases, which might otherwise have been live in good health.

Korea University College of Medicine Professor Yoon Suk-joon

In 2015, the socioeconomic cost of mental and behavioral disorders stood at about 7.2 trillion won ($5.8 billion). Indirect costs resulting from productivity loss accounted for 63.5 percent of the total, larger than social and economic burdens from the use of healthcare service to treat them.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s budget for psychological healthcare steadily increased from 86.9 billion won in 2007 to 284.1 billion won in 2019. However, its share in the total health and medical budget remained at 2.4 percent last year, similar to the previous year, the research said.

"To develop policies in the field of mental health, we should prioritize an evident-based systemic plan for securing resources considering the characteristics of Koreans with mental illness," Professor Yoon said. "The nation needs constant effort and attention to build a consensus across society for mental health issues."

The study was published in the Journal of Mental Health, a Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) grade journal, under the title “A comparison of disease burden and the government budget for mental health in Korea.”

shim531@docdocdoc.co.kr

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