Poor mental health creates significant economic costs, in addition to human suffering, and is a growing world-wide concern, especially with an aging population. To estimate the cost of this disease in the U.S., we adopt a conventional economic growth model and include the number of poor mental health days (PMHD) as a right-hand side variable. Controlling for various county-level variables associated with income growth, our results suggest that one additional PMHD is associated with a 1.84 percentage point lower per capita real income growth rate, or $53 billion less total annual income, across the U.S. between 2008 and 2014. This effect is in addition to the income losses associated with the Great Recession.
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