Stress-related illnesses cost Singapore’s health system $3.2B in 2018: study

23-Nov-2019 Intellasia | Yahoo News Singapore | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The impact of stress-related illnesses on Singapore’s health system was estimated to have cost about $3.18 billion in 2018, according to a report released on Thursday (21 November).

The report published by global health services firm Cigna and healthcare consultancy firm Asia Care Group showed that Singapore had the second highest rate of cost arising from stress-related illnesses at 18 per cent of health spending among nine key markets.

Australia had the highest rate of cost in this category at 18.8 per cent.

Over 160,000 admissions in Singapore last year were linked to stress-related illnesses, according to the study entitled “Chronic Stress: Are we reaching health system burn out?”

Of the estimated $3.18 billion, the cost related to general practitioner appointments for stress-related illnesses was the highest at $1.5 billion, followed by inpatient admissions at $1.3 billion, outpatient attendances at $400 million, and accident and emergency at $29 million.

Stress-related illnesses represent a significant burden on health systems, and costs are expected to continue to rise, the report said.

Chronic stress increases the risk of health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, and is commonly associated with physical illnesses, such as irritable bowel syndrome or lower-back pain.

The report also showed that many people with mental health issues were averse to seeking professional help.

April Chang, CEO of Singapore for Cigna International Markets, said, “Despite experiencing signs of mental illness caused by chronic stress, many people do not seek medical help straight away, waiting until they experience physical symptoms. This could be partly due to the fact that in some countries, mental health is still considered a taboo subject, and seeking help for physical symptoms has more cultural acceptability.”

Besides Singapore and Australia, the study also covered Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US.


Category: Singapore

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