Mental health and substance abuse disorders are pressing challenges across the nation. While these problems can clearly take an enormous toll on individuals, they also involve sizable costs for society as a whole. For those without private insurance, problems can be particularly acute. Given funding challenges, dealing with these issues increasingly requires innovative approaches to maximize the return on investment in services. Even beyond the quality of life and other human costs, mental health disorders can be expensive in terms of treatment. With inadequate treatment, overall costs, such as comorbidities, loss of wages and productivity, incarceration, homelessness, and mortality, can notably escalate.
Every year, millions of children in the United States suffer from some type of abuse or neglect. Even beyond the horrific physical and mental costs of child maltreatment, there is also a tremendous economic cost. This infographic summarizes some of the key findings in our report, Suffer the Children: An Assessment of the Economic Costs of Child Maltreatment.
In addition to the very real and often lifelong effects on the individuals involved, child maltreatment also imposes substantial economic costs which can be quantified in a comprehensive manner. When properly measured, child maltreatment drains literally trillions of dollars in long-term business activity.
There is no social issue more important than protecting children from abuse and neglect. At present, millions of children in the United States are living in households where abuse occurs. More than three million experienced abuse for the first time this year, and many will continue to be maltreated. It's nothing short of tragic, and the consequences for the children involved often last a lifetime.