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Journal article
Why we should spend more on mental health
Richard Layard
March 2016
Paper No' :

Tags: mental health; economic cost; morbidity; life-satisfaction; cost-saving

Mental health problems affect roughly 1 in 5 adults, and 1 in 10 children at any one time. In rich countries they cause roughly 40% of disability, absenteeism and underperformance at work, and cost some 7% of GDP. Under ¼ of those affected are in treatment, though excellent evidence-based treatments exist. The English programme Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) has shown what can be achieved. It treats half a million patients a year. Its net cost is negative, since the gross cost is covered twice over in savings in welfare benefits/ lost taxes and in savings on physical healthcare. Wide availability of these treatments is imperative since common mental illnesses are empirically the biggest single cause of misery in rich countries.