Managing Principal Paul Greenberg Discusses the Costs of Depression on WBUR’s “Common Health”

March 11, 2015

In a feature interview, "Growing Burden: Toll of Major Depression Now Put At $210 Billion A Year" (Common Health, March 11, 2015), Managing Principal Paul Greenberg discussed the results of a new study on the economic burden of depression with the Boston NPR news station, WBUR. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry ("The Economic Burden of Adults with Major Depressive Disorder in the United States (2005 and 2010)," February 2015),  found that the economic burden of individuals in the United States suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) rose 21%, from $173.2 billion in 2005 to $210.5 billion in 2010. 

In the interview with WBUR, Mr. Greenberg focused on the study's key findings, including the large and growing costs of depression and the dramatic impact of depression on the workplace: "There's no employer that's exempt from the costs of depression. And I think both the magnitude of costs generally, as well as the costs that are specific to the workplace, are worthy of further attention, further thought, further research." When discussing the overall costs of depression, Mr. Greenberg reflected on the relationship between depression and comorbid conditions such as back pain, sleep disorders, and migraines to explain that key questions of cause and effect are unlikely to go away, "if we're more successful at treating depression, there's a great opportunity to alleviate some or even a large part" of these other costs.

The 2015 study -- led by Mr. Greenberg, along with Manager Andrée-Anne Fournier, Vice Presidents Tamar Sisitsky and Crystal Pike, and Professor Ronald C. Kessler of the Harvard Medical School -- follows on the authors' previous landmark studies on the societal costs of depression published in 1993 and 2003. In the interview with WBUR, Mr. Greenberg outlined the importance of the topic and opportunities for future study: "I'm very confident this will always be a topic of great importance in the United States and internationally. I have no doubt in another 10 or 20 years, as long as I'm able to and there's interest, I'll be forever interested in updating these findings."

Read the full interview

Read the study

Read the related Scientific American article

Hear the related Radio Boston interview