Mental Health Promotion and Mental Illness Prevention: The Economic Case

Mental Health Promotion and Mental Illness Prevention: The Economic Case

Health care services can often struggle to prevent mental illness and work to promote mental wellbeing due to a lack of resources and the costs associated with this. The following report seeks to justify this investment based on the projection of the cost of not addressing these issues.

To investigate this the research took an economic analysis of mental wellbeing interventions, and used the data available to project and predict the impact of these. The interventions included health visit, methods for early detection and treatment, screening for alcohol misuse and mental illness, promotion of wellbeing, and school based social and emotional learning (SEL) delivery.

Each method and situation of intervention studied is analysed on a case-by-case basis, and it is found for the majority that these have a positive impact on those involved and long term cost savings for the economy. With the example of SEL, the cost of such interventions are around £132 per child per year with savings on improved conduct of £75,000-£150,000, with long term reductions in crime costs of up to £60 billion, with wider benefits for the NHS and education system. There are also financial benefits to the implementation of anti-bullying programmes, with greater impact being had when they are implemented across the whole school. Improvements can also be made in the workplace through provision of screening for mental illness, and promotion of mental wellbeing, this saves costs in reduction of absenteeism and increased productivity.

Overall, the interventions it was possible to build an economic analysis from demonstrated good value for money, and over a number of years began to pay for themselves. There were a range of impacts to be had across various interventions, with benefits in the short as well as long term. Key elements for this impact to be had are for interventions to work with the most at-risk and needy individuals, and to provide evidence to support the work being done.

“For too long the focusin health has been on treatment with little real investment into prevention.There has also been a flawed policy to treat mental and physical health conditions as largely unrelated challenges. For example, Obesity is far more than a physiological condition – there are many psychological and social influences at work. The earlier upstream preventative interventions are adopted the greater the longer term benefits from the personal view of the individuals and from the financial view of the NHS and the country at large.”

– Graham Morgan, Evolve Director and Chairman

To read the full report, click here.