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Rehanna Neky

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Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention: The economic case

Download the report|

mental healthResearchers from the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Centre for the Economics of Mental Health and the Centre for Mental Health have reported on the economic case for mental health promotion and mental illness prevention and early intervention, helping the Department of Health assess the case for investment in this area and plan its new mental health strategy.

Almost 23% of the burden of disease in the UK is due to mental disorder and self-reported injury, compared to about 16% each for cancer and cardiovascular disease. The costs of mental health problems to the NHS, social and informal care services were £22.5 billion in 2007. Without intervention, mental ill-health can damage educational attainment, employment and a range of future outcomes.

Mental health issues tend to affect people early (50% of cases occur by age 14). Yet most current public spending on mental health is focused on the results of problems, on crisis intervention and expensive longer-term care and support rather than on prevention and early intervention.

The report, commissioned via LSE Enterprise, identifies and analyses the costs and economic pay-offs of a range of interventions in the area of mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention. It models fifteen areas, including parenting interventions for children with persistent conduct disorders, workplace screening for depression and anxiety disorders, debt and the befriending of older adults.

It finds that many interventions are outstandingly good value for money, low in cost and often become self financing over time, saving public expenditure.

The report Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention: The economic case fed into the Department of Health's new mental health strategy| published on 2 February 2011.


  • Download the report
  • The study was funded by the Department of Health, and managed by LSE Enterprise, which offers a professional interface with LSE's academic departments, institutes and research centres. To find out more, see lse.ac.uk/enterprise 
  • To contact Professor Knapp, email Rehanna Neky at LSE Enterprise: r.neky@lse.ac.uk.