More than ever before, behavioral health is a stark, unrelenting priority in today's healthcare landscape. Studies have recently reported that mental illness costs the global economy $1 trillion each year. In the United States alone, it's estimated to cost approximately $105 billion in lost productivity and nearly $200 billion each year in lost earnings. High profile tragedies such as the shootings in Aurora CO and Newtown CT have resulted in an unprecedented elevation of the national dialogue regarding mental illness and addiction. In addition to coverage by national media, there are countless untold stories of bullying-related suicides in children, silent, heart-wrenching struggles suffered by families of returning soldiers, and hidden addiction disorders that continue to eat away at the lives of 11 million teens and young adults in the United States.
The prevalence of mental health issues has grown to the point that none of us are untouched, whether it be directly or indirectly. In response to this devastating and painful reality, Mission Health considers behavioral health to be an essential part of whole-person wellness and is committed to providing comprehensive care that fully meets the mental health needs of Western North Carolinians. Thankfully, there is growing recognition that providing necessary treatment and services to people with mental illness brings a significant return on investment. Every dollar spent on mental health programs results in $3-$5 in new economic contributions and years of healthy life. Philanthropy is a critical part of Mission Health's investment in the mental health of the community it serves every day. Ultimately, better mental health means a better bottom line -- for our communities, our economy and our overall wellbeing.