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How Mental Health Disorders and Stress Affect Working-Age Americans

Mental health disorders are among the most burdensome health concerns in the United States. Nearly 1 in 5 US adults aged 18 or older (18.3% or 44.7 million people) reported any mental illness in 2016. Besides, 71% of adults reported at least one symptom of stress: a headache or feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

Many people with mental health disorders also need care for other physical health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory illness, and disorders that affect muscles, bones, and joints. The costs for treating people with mental health disorders and other physical conditions are 2 to 3 times higher than those without co-occurring illnesses. By combining medical and behavioral health care services, the United States could save $37.6 billion to $67.8 billion a year.

About 63% of Americans are part of the US labor force. The workplace can be a crucial location for activities designed to improve well-being among adults. Workplace wellness programs can identify those at risk and connect them to treatment, and put in place supports to help people reduce and manage stress. By addressing mental health issues in the workplace, employers can reduce health care costs for their businesses and employees.

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