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Mental Illness and Unhappiness

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Author Info

  • Layard, Richard

    ()
    (London School of Economics)

  • Chisholm, Dan

    (World Health Organization)

  • Patel, Vikram

    ()
    (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)

  • Saxena, Shekhar

    ()
    (World Health Organization)

Abstract

This paper is a contribution to the second World Happiness Report. It makes five main points. 1. Mental health is the biggest single predictor of life-satisfaction. This is so in the UK, Germany and Australia even if mental health is included with a six-year lag. It explains more of the variance of life-satisfaction in the population of a country than physical health does, and much more than unemployment and income do. Income explains 1% of the variance of life-satisfaction or less. 2. Much the most common forms of mental illness are depression and anxiety disorders. Rigorously defined, these affect about 10% of all the world’s population – and prevalence is similar in rich and poor countries. 3. Depression and anxiety are more common during working age than in later life. They account for a high proportion of disability and impose major economic costs and financial losses to governments worldwide. 4. Yet even in rich countries, under a third of people with diagnosable mental illness are in treatment. 5. Cost-effective treatments exist, with recovery rates of 50% or more. In rich countries treatment is likely to have no net cost to the Exchequer due to savings on welfare benefits and lost taxes. But even in poor countries a reasonable level of coverage could be obtained at a cost of under $2 per head of population per year.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7620.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7620

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Keywords: mental illness; welfare benefits; healthcare costs; life-satisfaction;

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References

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  1. Richard Layard & Andrew Clark & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Francesca Cornaglia, 2013. "What predicts a successful life? A life-course model of well-being," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2013-16, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
  2. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A., 2011. "Destined for (Un)Happiness: Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction?," IZA Discussion Papers 5819, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Johnston, David W. & Schurer, Stefanie & Shields, Michael A., 2011. "Evidence on the Long Shadow of Poor Mental Health across Three Generations," IZA Discussion Papers 6014, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. R. Laynard & D. Clark & M. Knapp & G. Mayraz, 2007. "Cost-benefit analysis of psychological therapy," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 202(1), pages 90-98, October.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Mental Illness and Unhappiness
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2013-10-15 13:42:53
  2. Non-issues
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-02-05 14:23:46

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