Mental health care is a vital part of the care system, and the health savings account (HSA) program is a critical tool to help people manage their care costs.
Now, researchers have found that the mental health counseling that a nurse gets from a mental healthcare professional can have a huge impact on how much money the patient spends on medical care.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, looked at the role of mental health counselors in patients’ overall health, how much they spend on medical costs and how they spend the money on their own health.
The results were fascinating: People who received a mental care counselor who is experienced in the field of mental illness had higher overall health and lower hospital admissions, which is good news for people who struggle with mental health issues.
In addition, those who had a mental counselor who was experienced in mental illness were much more likely to have a high quality of life, and were more likely than those who received mental health care from a non-mental health professional to be on Medicare or Medicaid.
Mental health counselor skills were also associated with better outcomes, with the average nurse having a higher overall life satisfaction score, and a lower overall quality of health and higher hospital admissions than people who did not receive a mental aide.
“It is important to note that this is a generalization, but the findings suggest that mental health professionals are very valuable in helping patients manage their health,” said lead author Rachel A. Smith, a doctoral candidate in the department of psychiatry at Michigan State University, in a press release.
“They are effective, they help them make decisions about their health, they provide insight on what to do about their condition, and they help patients to get better outcomes.”
In other words, it appears that a well-trained mental health professional can be as valuable to a person’s health as a doctor.
Smith and her colleagues also found that mental counselors have lower rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems, which could be one of the reasons for their positive impact on overall health.
This finding is particularly important because mental health is a chronic condition, as it can be linked to various conditions like diabetes and cancer.
Smith’s team found that while mental health advocates may be vocal about what mental health experts have to say, mental health workers and other health professionals often need to be trained in their profession, which can be expensive.
“For example, mental healthcare workers need to get their certification and receive training in their field to be able to work in a mental illness clinic, and mental health mental health therapists have to get training in how to treat people who have mental health conditions,” Smith said.
“It is very difficult to get trained in mental health and mental healthcare, and it is a very time-consuming process.”
Smith’s research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Source: News24 | Image: Getty Images, Shutterstock