When could a stigma program to address mental illness in the workplace break even?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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OBJECTIVE: To explore basic requirements for a stigma program to produce sufficient savings to pay for itself (that is, break even).

METHODS: A simple economic model was developed to compare reductions in total short-term disability (SDIS) cost relative to a stigma program's costs. A 2-way sensitivity analysis is used to illustrate conditions under which this break-even scenario occurs.

RESULTS: Using estimates from the literature for the SDIS costs, this analysis shows that a stigma program can provide value added even if there is no reduction in the length of an SDIS leave. To break even, a stigma program with no reduction in the length of an SDIS leave would need to prevent at least 2.5 SDIS claims in an organization of 1000 workers. Similarly, a stigma program can break even with no reduction in the number of SDIS claims if it is able to reduce SDIS episodes by at least 7 days in an organization of 1000 employees.

CONCLUSIONS: Modelling results, such as those presented in our paper, provide information to help occupational health payers become prudent buyers in the mental health market place. While in most cases, the required reductions seem modest, the real test of both the model and the program occurs once a stigma program is piloted and evaluated in a real-world setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S34-S39
JournalCanadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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