Economics of Mental Health
Mental health disorders affect over 13 million Americans and are a leading cause of disability with significant impacts on productivity, human capital and quality of life. In recent years, there has been an increasing recognition of the need to address mental health issues and the challenges in doing so. The proposed session includes a cohesive set of three papers, which evaluate various aspects of mental health service utilization, spending and mental health outcomes. Paper 1 will be presented by Ana Progovac from Harvard Medical School. This paper investigates trends in severe childhood impairment, mental health service use and mental health spending. Paper 2 will be presented by Brendan Saloner from Johns Hopkins University. This paper evaluates whether a 2011 law in Kansas mandating comprehensive coverage of care for autism spectrum disorders led to changes in health service utilization and spending. Susan Averett from Lafayette College will present the final paper in the session, which examines the impact of local and state immigration enforcement on the mental and physical health of native children residing in families where at least one adult member is likely to be an unauthorized immigrant. The session will be chaired by David Simon from the University of Connecticut and each paper has an assigned discussant, including Nathan Tefft, Jason Fletcher and Scott Adams.