WISE Indiana, Irsay Institute and Fairbanks School of Public Health join forces to tackle mental health issues in the state

September 21, 2022

Researchers analyzing cost of untreated mental illness, full report will be released upon completion

INDIANAPOLIS – Researchers across Indiana are coming together to learn more about the impact of mental illness in Indiana. This collaboration between WISE Indiana, Irsay Institute and the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health will generate a first-of-its-kind report about the cost of untreated mental illness in Indiana. The study was commissioned by the Indiana Behavioral Health Commission (IBHC). The IBHC was created by the General Assembly in the 2020 legislative session and is tasked with delivering recommendations to the legislature in Fall 2022.

Each entity participating in this collaborative effort brings a unique perspective to the project.

  • WISE Indiana, which stands for “Well-being Informed by Science and Evidence in Indiana,” is a partnership between the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute’s Monon Collaborative and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), engaging the state’s academic experts to evaluate and inform Indiana practices, programs and policies. Subject matter experts in economics and policy analysis from the Indiana University Bloomington O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs were also involved in this collaboration.
  • The Irsay Institute is a newly established center on the Indiana University Bloomington campus, which started with a $3 million gift from the Jim Irsay family, the owners of the Indianapolis Colts. The institute’s mission is to address the stigma around mental health and other health challenges.
  • The Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health is home to some of the state’s leading research experts in public health policy, health data science, and social and behavioral sciences.

“We know mental illness has a profound impact on the lives of countless families,” said Justin Blackburn, PhD, associate professor of health policy and management at the Fairbanks School of Public Health. “This research will help to better understand the overall financial toll of untreated mental illness in this state and how much money could potentially be saved with better access to treatment.”

The research team has been compiling data-driven evidence to better understand how mental illness affects the lives of people in Indiana. They estimate the economic burden of untreated mental illness in Indiana on a yearly basis could be in the range of billions of dollars, accounting for higher than expected death rates and lower productivity among people with untreated or undertreated mental illness.

“The work the Behavioral Health Commission and its academic partners have done in creating this report is critical in providing a blueprint for an effective treatment system,” said Senator Michael Crider (R—28th district), the legislative leader on behavioral health who carried the bill that established the IBHC. “Having a defendable cost estimate for untreated mental illness in Indiana will be especially helpful as we discuss this issue during the upcoming legislative process. I am grateful for every person and entity that contributed to this important project and look forward to our continued collaboration.”

When the report is completed, it will outline key areas that should be prioritized to save money for the state, as well as improve mental health outcomes for people living in Indiana. This information will include both direct and indirect costs which contribute to the economic burden of mental illness. It will also differentiate the impact based on whether adults have serious mental illness or other mental illnesses, and the effect of mental illness for children.

Contact: Anna Carrera, acarrer@iu.edu, 614-570-6503 (cell)

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About the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) brings together the state’s brightest minds to solve Indiana’s most pressing health challenges through research. It is a statewide partnership among Indiana University, Purdue University, the University of Notre Dame and numerous life sciences businesses, government entities, and community organizations. The Indiana CTSI engages with the public at every level of research—from basic science to patient care. It has been continuously funded by multimillion-dollar grants from the National Institutes of Health since the Indiana CTSI’s founding in 2008 and is housed at the Indiana University School of Medicine. More information about the Indiana CTSI is available here.

About the Indiana Behavioral Health Commission
The Indiana Behavioral Health Commission (IBHC) discusses and makes recommendations on issues related to the overall improvement of the behavioral and mental health of Indiana residents. The Commission meets to address and report on behavioral health issues in Indiana. The Commission must prepare reports that address the following four areas: assessment and inventory, funding and data, youth and families, and system design and access. More information about the IBHC is available here.

About the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
Located on the IUPUI and Fort Wayne campuses, the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health is committed to advancing the public’s health and well-being through education, innovation and leadership. The Fairbanks School of Public Health is known for its expertise in biostatistics, epidemiology, cancer research, community health, environmental public health, global health, health policy and health services administration. More information about the Fairbanks School of Public Health is available here.

|2022-09-22T14:21:30-04:00September 21st, 2022|Comments Off on WISE Indiana, Irsay Institute and Fairbanks School of Public Health join forces to tackle mental health issues in the state

About the Author: Anna Carrera

Anna Carrera
Anna Carrera is the research communications manager for Indiana University's Precision Health Initiative, IU School of Medicine Research Affairs and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. She joined the team in June 2019 after working as a TV news reporter for ten years. She loves sharing stories about the great research being done across the state to improve the health of Hoosiers.

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