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October 28, 2020

Reducing Common Mental Disorder Prevalence in Populations

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
  • 2Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
JAMA Psychiatry. 2021;78(4):359-360. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.3443

The burden of common mental disorders (CMDs), including major depressive and anxiety disorders, is substantial. CMDs contribute to lowered work productivity, family dysfunction, substance misuse, suicide, and reduced life expectancy. The point prevalence of CMDs has been stable since the 1980s,1 although expenditures on mental health care and drug therapy have increased dramatically.2 Given failure of increased treatment to lower CMD prevalence, some have called for reconceptualizing the diagnosis of CMDs and investing in new research to improve treatment.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Over The Horizon Emergence
    Paul Nelson, MS, MD | Family Health Care, PC
    Viewing the traditions underlying each person's 'human suffering', the level of change during the evolving anthropocene has seemingly negated the importance of adaptive skills as an attribute of each person's caring relationships. Molded by each family's communal traditions, these caring relationships then augment the trustworthy social networks necessary for social cohesion, community by community. Beginning before birth, the epigenetic processes underlying every person's early childhood development must be nurtured to potentiate each person's Well-Being ("Happiness in an objectively worthwhile life" as defined by Professor Neera Badhwar). This VIEWPOINT represents a concise breath of fresh air to focus on community priorities.

    Amidst the din of adversity-laden social interactions, it is unlikely that healthcare alone has the broad capability to sufficiently prevent, mitigate, and ameliorate every person's expression of Well-Being. We, the USA, already allocate too much of our national economy to health spending. Given international standards, the excess could reasonably be calculated as $1 trillion in 2019. That must be resolved to achieve universal health insurance, family leave, and advanced early childhood education. The "3 factors" should guide any complex strategy for meaningful improvement of a nation's population health and its healthcare.