ABSTRACT. 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. pp. 188–206

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

How to cite: Layard, Richard (2016), “Why We Should Spend More on Mental Health,” American Journal of Medical Research 3(1): 188–206.

Received 13 January 2016 • Received in revised form 7 March 2016
Accepted 7 March 2016 • Available online 28 March 2016


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Centre for Economic Performance,
London School of Economics and Political Science

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