RESEARCH: Outpatient Treatment Saves Money
(June 17, 2013) Outpatient treatment of mental illness reduces arrest rates and saves money was the conclusion of a study from researchers at North Carolina State University (“Treatment of Mental Illness Lowers Arrest Rates, Saves Money,” June 10).
The researchers studied 4,056 patients who had been hospitalized for severe mental illness during a seven-year period. The research team found that patients who received outpatient services after discharge were less likely to be arrested and cost the government $68,000 for treatment and services, whereas patients who did not receive outpatient services were more likely to be arrested and cost the government $95,000.
“This study shows that providing mental health care is not only in the best interest of people with mental illness, but in the best interests of society,” said Dr. Sarah Desmarais, co-author of the paper and assistant professor of psychology at the university. “Our research shows that people receiving medication were significantly less likely to be arrested.”
At the Treatment Advocacy Center we have always said that treatment works to save lives and money. For those too ill to seek treatment themselves, court-ordered outpatient treatment is a bridge to recovery. Assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) laws have been passed in 45 states. These states need to use their AOT laws so that people who aren’t well enough to choose treatment experience the same benefits as people who are able to choose it for themselves.
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