Your Donation Can Change a Life, Save a Family, and Ignite Social Change
Improving Access to Needed Services
Renaissance Health Foundation, Inc. was organized to combat the far-reaching stigma in our society about mental illness, and to improve access to quality behavioral health services for people suffering from mental disorders.
Mental disorders are quite common and affect our society in many direct and indirect ways. An estimated 26.2 percent of adults (about 1 in 4) experience a diagnosable mental disorder every year. About 6 percent (1 in 17) has a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder.
Unfortunately, less than 1/3 of adults receive any level of treatment in any given year. Many studies indicate that the costs associated with not receiving treatment far outweigh the actual costs of treatment. For instance:
- Depression increases the risk of dying from heart disease by as much as three-fold, and impairs self-care and adherence to treatments for chronic medical illnesses
- Individuals with diabetes and co-morbid depression have healthcare costs that are 4.5 higher than individuals with diabetes without co-morbid depression
- Moreover, individuals with both back pain and depression use twice as many sick days and incur twice the healthcare costs as those with either problem separately
Even when the actual costs of treatment are included, the cost benefits of mental health treatment are profound. Mental health treatment reduces the need for hospital and emergency room services and improves health outcomes for people with diabetes, cancer, heart disease, chronic pain, cancer, and other serious illnesses. Major depression is associated with more annual sick days and higher rates of short-term disability than other chronic diseases. Employees suffering from depression have three times more sick days than non-depressed workers.
A medical cost offset exists when medical utilization decreases as a result of mental health intervention. A total offset occurs when general health savings exceed the costs of mental health treatment, effectively resulting in the treatment "paying for itself." Indeed, people with mental problems are heavy users of medical services. Studies have shown that persons not receiving mental health services visited a medical doctor twice as often for unnecessary care than persons receiving treatment.
Many studies show that spending money on mental health treatment not only reduces overall medical costs, but investing in mental health services also:
- Reduces emergency room visits and hospital stays
- Reduces the likelihood of being arrested
- Reduces the likelihood of felony convictions
- Reduces homelessness
- In the workplace, investing in mental health services reduces absenteeism, tardiness, on-the-job injuries, disagreements with supervisors, and disability
Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions, and die on average 25 years earlier than other Americans, largely due to treatable medical conditions. Further, a 2010 national survey of university counseling center directors found that 44% of their residents had "severe psychological disorders," a sharp increase from 16% in 2000. Nationally, the incidences of college students being placed on medical leave for psychological reasons, as well as dropping out due to mental disorders, are on the increase.
Renaissance Health Foundation seeks to assist people by improving access to critical mental health services and to tear down the barriers to treatment, specifically to combat societal stigma associated with mental disorders.
Our Treatment Assistance Scholarships are designed to improve access to treatment services along the continuum of care, including residential treatment, community based residential services, day treatment, supported living, group homes, and life skills/social skills training. These levels of treatment, often not covered by insurance plans and governmental funding, are often critical links between the transition from successful inpatient treatment to successful daily life.
Your investment in our mission can not only change a life, it can save a family, and help improve our society by improving the quality of life for many people suffering from mental illness.
Mental Health Parity:
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act is a federal law that prohibits the practice of unequal health treatment.
This practice has kept individuals with untreated mental health disorders and substance abuse issues from receiving critically important treatment services. Learn more about Mental Health Parity here.