APA believes that health-care reform should be about insuring the uninsured, while transforming the way health care is delivered. Because the mind and body are so closely linked, psychological care and other forms of health care should be linked, too.
Many mental health difficulties are associated with physical symptoms and health risk behaviors. For example, psychologists can treat mental disorders such as depression, which may lead to years of emotional and physical suffering and even premature death.
But psychology--as the science of human behavior--also has a major role to play in improving physical health. Behaviors such as smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise underlie many of our nation's most pressing health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer.
Integrating care won't just improve people's mental and physical health. It can also improve our economy. Untreated mental disorders cost American businesses billions of dollars a year in reduced productivity, absenteeism and turnover. Medical conditions--many of them preventable--also cost businesses dearly. In fact, behavior-linked illnesses account for nearly 75 percent of health-care spending.