The dollar sign, AKA… The bottom line. How much does it cost? Is the financial risk worth the reward?
Realistically, advocating for policy change not only takes time, it costs money. To implement policy, thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars are needed to successfully execute structured projects and proposals. For this reason, it is important that we discuss the cost of healthcare financing in regard to PPD.
Postpartum depression can be expensive to treat. But isn’t any disease, illness, disability, or complication? It may be more meaningful to look at the cost of not treating and understand what it would cost to not treat.
One group of researchers compared the associated costs of screening and treating to standard of care, not screening. What these researchers found was that screening and treating mothers with perinatal mood disorders resulted more healthy women in two years and was considerably less expensive than standard of care (Wilkinson, Anderson, & Wheeler, 2017). Another high-quality study evaluated the cost of mother-infant dyads who were untreated for PPD 5 years after giving birth from the year 2017. These researchers found that an estimated, collaborative cost is $14.2 billion for all untreated dyads (Luca, Garlow, Staatz, Margiotta, & Zivin, 2019). These results are of astronomical importance and suggest screening and treatment ought to be issued into practice at a much larger scale than what it is currently being done.
“While sustainability is an essential concept to ensure the future of humanity and the integrity of the resources and ecosystems on which we depend, identifying a comprehensive yet realistic way to assess and enhance sustainability may be one of the most difficult challenges of our time.”- Little, hester, & Carey, 2016
In order to enhance sustainability of screening and treating for PPD in community settings, healthcare professionals must remain involved in the process. Sustainability is enhanced when members are included in the design process and thoroughly understand the reasons behind why the process is being conducted and the benefits that are expected to result. You must obtain “buy-in”. It is an essential piece of ongoing success. This can be done through advocacy, campaigns, and spreading awareness via media outlets. Educating the community might possibly be the most pertinent piece of this puzzle. Those who understand reasoning behind their actions gain more ground and produce positive effects on a much larger scale than those who don’t.
Little, J. C., Hester, E. T., & Carey, C. C. (2016). Assessing and enhancing environmental sustainability: A conceptual review. Environmental Science & Technology, 50(13), 6830-6845. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b00298
Luca, D. L., Garlow, N., Staatz, C., Margiotta, C., & Zivin, K. (2019). Societal costs of untreated perinatal mood and anxiety disorders in the United States. Mathematica Policy Research. Retrieved from https://www.mathematica.org/our-publications-and-findings/publications/societal-costs-of-untreated-perinatal-mood-and-anxiety-disorders-in-the-united-states
Wilkinson, A., Anderson, S., & Wheeler, S. B. (2017). Screening for and treating postpartum depression and psychosis: A cost-effectiveness analysis. Matern Child Health J., 21(4), 903-914. doi:10.1007/s10995-016-2192-9.