Proposal to Promote the Entry of the Private Sector into Non-clinical Depression Related Businesses as Providers of Low-intensity Mental Health Services

Author Name SO Mirai  (King's College London Institute of Psychiatry) /WATANABE Takashi  (Life Balance Management Inc.)
Creation Date/NO. January 2014 14-P-001
Research Project Research Project on Mental Health from the Perspective of Human Capital
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There is concern over non-clinical depression (NCD) which has some depressive symptoms but does not meet clinical criteria. Recent epidemic study suggests that the economic costs of mild depression including NCD are quite large, and the risk of developing serious mental illness from NCD cannot be disregarded. Thus, some intervention on NCD is expected. However, people with NCD tend to be treated as healthy in psychiatry, and private service providers tend to refrain from providing services alleviating NCD. As a result, there is little opportunity for people with NCD to be provided with evidence-based health care services.

In this paper, we explore the possibility of promoting low-intensity mental health care intervention services on NCD provided by private service providers. We picked six industries (fitness, health food (including supplements), spa, information technology, tourism, and education) and reviewed previous studies in order to examine whether the services provided by these industries can lead to the alleviation of depressive symptoms of NCD.

According to our review, there is enough evidence on the fitness industry and the IT industry for the alleviation of NCD. There is high potential in health foods, but some risk management is required such as measures to avoid excessive intake. Regarding tourism and the spa industry, there is relatively weak evidence, and further research is required. Regarding the education related industry, we expect them to be more involved in NCD related services because they have the know-how to teach effectively with attractive materials and have developed a unique channel of distance learning.