Prevention versus Treatment of Chronic Illnesses and Childhood Mental Illness

Decent Essays
Prevention’s role is to alleviate factors that lead to the need for treatment. Treatment refers to the interventions that occur to cure or lessen/manage the symptoms of a disease, illness or injury once it presents.
Prevention is intuitively the best strategy in mitigating social determinants of poor health that lead to high treatment costs. In an ideal world, financial resources would be skewed toward prevention as an investment in future health/wellness and to avoid the need for treatment whenever possible. However, even in public sector healthcare with its broader array of benefits and services, there are limited mechanisms for funding the earliest forms of prevention, as dollars must be allocated for the more immediate and visible acutely and chronically ill population. One issue my organization is struggling with currently is infant and early childhood mental health and wellness, where evidence suggests that early interventions with the families and children can mean the difference in long-range outcomes. Heckman (2012), when evaluating the Perry Preschool and Abecedarian Projects and similar programs, conservatively estimates a rate of return on dollars invested at between 6% and 10% (conservative because he doesn’t actually measure a rate of return on health/mental health). He writes:

Early interventions can improve cognitive as well as socio-emotional skills. They promote schooling, reduce crime, foster workforce productivity, and reduce teenage
Get Access