Mental Health Briefing Highlights True Cost of Impaired Cognitive Health

Mental Health BriefingIn a briefing hosted by the Healthcare Leadership Council on Capitol Hill, the hidden costs of depression were expounded upon by leading professionals in cognitive health.  HLC President Mary R. Grealy shared that depression is costing the United States over $200 billion a year in reduced productivity.  Recently, a FDA panel of independent experts recognized that cognitive dysfunction may be considered a target for pharmacological treatment.  Ms. Grealy stated that speeding drug development in therapeutic areas such as depression is especially important.

Alice Medalia, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center, spoke to the impact cognitive impairment has on an individual’s ability to function.  She noted that underperformance in academics, the workplace, personal relationships, and medication management is common in people lacking cognitive health.  She also dispelled the myth that diagnostic symptoms of depression are the reason behind functional impairment.

Greg Mattingly, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine, provided a visual of brain scans to show that depressed brains produce excessive emotions, while neural activity is diminished.  Typical treatments for depression focus on the emotional aspect without addressing the lower neural activity.  In order to truly recover from depression, both issues need to be treated.

Kim Hauge, of Kent State University, discussed the university’s implementation of its holistic employee wellness program.  After discovering that mental health was one of the top drivers of health and disability claims, KSU launched widespread tactics to reach employees struggling with depression.  She reported positive results and a substantial reduction in healthcare costs.

This briefing was sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc /Lundbeck LLC and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.