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Calculating the Costs of Mental Health Care

Treatment for mental illness is a major driver of health care inflation and second only to heart disease, according to a new study in the journal Health Affairs. And among mental health treatments, antidepressant drugs known as SSRIs are a big contributor to that cost inflation, the study concludes. Over the last year, pharmacies filled more than $146 million in prescriptions for SSRIs.

These growing costs have led many employers to view mental health benefits as a potential drain on profits, making businesses reluctant to provide health insurance coverage for mental illness.

In the third part of a series on SSRIs, NPR's Joanne Silberner reports on the role employers play in getting treatment for their workers with depression.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joanne Silberner is a health policy correspondent for National Public Radio. She covers medicine, health reform, and changes in the health care marketplace.