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March 4, 1968


JAMA. 1968;203(10):33-34. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140100107048

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Despite improvement in treatment services, mental illness cost the nation more than $20 billion in 1966. Stanley F. Yolles, MD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said that the total bill, if divided among all Americans, would be almost $48 per citizen in that year.

Commenting on the NIMH study, Wilbur J. Cohen, under secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, said the costs would have been even higher had it not been for many improvements in mental health services across the country.

'Efforts Paying Off'  "One of the department's major priorities is to increase knowledge and manpower and improve treatment services in mental health," Cohen said, "and our efforts are paying off as shown by the latest survey of the number of patients in state and county mental hospitals."He added that last year saw the sharpest decrease in resident patients in such hospitals since