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Corporations grapple over mental health coverage
Mental health is no longer being talked about his hushed tones. The business world has realized that it is possible that some of its workers may have psychological problems which must be dealt with by professionals and the individuals.
The employer's willingness today to offer help - through medical insurance as well as emotional support and comfort - is helping to remove the stigma attached to mental health problems.
Statistics indicate that although mental health care can be expensive, it is usually a good investment for both the company and the individual. Recent surveys point toward education and prevention as the best ways to help keep costs down.
"We often treat symptoms when they show up instead of teaching people about prevention of mental illness," says Dr. Greg Tharp, a psychologist in private practice. "We need to teach people about their problem and how they can compensate for it."
For instance, it is estimated that 10 million Americans are affected by severe depression. This problem, which can frequently be treated relatively easily in a variety of ways, harms not just the individual. The problem can become a burden to family members, co-workers and the employer.
Emotional problems or depression show up in the workplace in many ways. Productivity decreases, incentive vanishes and output tumbles. The end result, Tharp says, is that everyone loses. But if that person had sought treatment early or was aware of how to prevent depression, the situation could have been dealt with before it got out of hand.
"When people who are severely depressed learn how to cope and overcome, they can resume productive lives," he says.
In recent years there has been a sharp rise in the number of people seeking mental health treatment. The most obvious increase has been in the use of alcohol and drug dependency treatment …