Lost Productivity From Mental Illness May Cost SG About $16B
Singapore/ Ohana/ Health & Wellness

Lost Productivity From Depression, Anxiety May Cost Singapore’s GDP S$16B

Depression Anxiety Singapore Productivity

A study by the Duke-NUS Medical School and the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), published on the journal BMC Psychiatry on Feb. 14, sought to approximate the “total economic burden of lost productivity” as caused by major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) in Singapore.

According to a press release by the medical school on Wednesday, the study found that depression and anxiety post-pandemic may be costing Singapore almost S$16 billion or 2.9% of its gross domestic product (GDP). For the study, the researchers surveyed 5,725 Singaporean adults online from April-June 2022, made possible by an internal grant from Duke-NUS.

About 14% of the respondents exhibited MDD symptoms, whereas 15%, including a lot of the same respondents, also showed symptoms concordant with GAD. Among those who were identified to have MDD and GAD, the study found that just 32% of them sought health care to tend to their conditions, whereas only 24% went to a mental health provider for consultation.

Professor Eric Finkelstein, senior author of the study and health economist with Duke-NUS' Health Services & Systems Research Programme, said in the release that this was worrying as it suggests Singaporeans are "not benefitting from effective treatments."

Thirteen percent of those with GAD and MDD had visited the Emergency Department at least once annually, while 9% were hospitalised. The study further showed that respondents suffering from these two conditions had missed work for an additional 17.7 days per year and reported being 40% less productive while on the job, which translates to a "total value of lost productivity" of S$15.7 billion due to these MDD and GAD.

IMH CEO and co-author of the study, Associate Professor Daniel Fung, noted in the release that seeking mental health care, branching out access to peer support initiatives, boosting mental health literacy, quashing stigma, and further training of doctors and health professionals on mental health diagnosis and treatment are all necessary for "a successful strategy for the whole population."

Read the full study here.

Get the latest curated content with The Beat Asia's newsletters. Sign up now for a weekly dose of the best stories, events, and deals delivered straight to your inbox. Don't miss out! Click here to subscribe.

This Week's Events In Singapore View more

Sign up to receive updates on what's going on in the city. Don't miss out on exciting events, news, and more. Sign up today!

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice
Thank you for subscribing! Click here if you were not redirected.