Sala de Postgrado
“The economic impact of mental health care in India”
Abstract: Poor mental health is a persistent public health challenge in poor countries, where around 20 percent of adults experience depression but most never receive treatment. This study evaluates the separate and joint impacts of mental health treatment and employment support for adults with depression in Karnataka, India. We recruited a sample of 1000 depressed adults through community screening and cross-randomized participants to receive eight months of psychiatric care and/or assistance with job training and placement. With around 45 percent compliance, the program succeeded in improving mental health. However these gains did not translate into substantial socioeconomic benefits. We find that depression treatment reduced labor supply and earnings. Evidence suggests that discrimination and stigma may have contributed to this unintended response. Receiving mental health care increased the isolation of recipients, who spent less time on both work and non-work activities outside the home. These patterns were particularly strong for respondents whose households were active in the marriage market, where mental health stigma is a particular concern. Our findings suggest that increasing the supply of mental health care may have unintended consequences in high-stigma settings.
Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas UC
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