Managing the Toll of Serious Illness on Mental Health


People with severe physical health problems confront a range of challenges, sometimes including mental health issues. The recent Health Care in America survey from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the New York Times, and the Commonwealth Fund found more than half of those who’ve had a serious medical condition, two or more hospitals stays, and visits with three or more doctors within the past three years reported anxiety, depression, or emotional or psychological problems resulting from their illness.

In a new post on To the Point, the Commonwealth Fund’s Corinne Lewis, Mekdes Tsega, and Eric C. Schneider, M.D., examine these challenges, from feelings of isolation to financial vulnerabilities stemming from the loss of a job. While many people with a serious physical health condition experience these issues, the survey found that those with additional emotional or psychological problems fare worse.

“As health care providers and insurers seek to improve care while controlling costs, focusing on better and more coordinated care for those with serious medical conditions and mental health issues should be part of the solution,” the authors write.

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