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Mental Illness and Unhappiness

Author

Listed:
  • Richard Layard
  • Dan Chisholm
  • Vikram Patel
  • Shekhar Saxena

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Layard & Dan Chisholm & Vikram Patel & Shekhar Saxena, 2013. "Mental Illness and Unhappiness," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 600, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp600
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.431544.de/diw_sp0600.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard Layard & Andrew E. Clark & Francesca Cornaglia & Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2014. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life‐course Model of Well‐being," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 720-738, November.
    2. Richard Layard & Andrew E. Clark & Francesca Cornaglia & Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2014. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life‐course Model of Well‐being," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 720-738, November.
    3. 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.
    4. McDaid, David & Park, A-La, 2011. "Investing in mental health and well-being: findings from the DataPrev project," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 39875, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. 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).
    6. 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).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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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 2013-11-27 18:47:13

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    Cited by:

    1. Powell-Jackson, Timothy & Pereira, Shreya K. & Dutt, Varun & Tougher, Sarah & Haldar, Kaveri & Kumar, Paresh, 2016. "Cash transfers, maternal depression and emotional well-being: Quasi-experimental evidence from India’s Janani Suraksha Yojana programme," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 210-218.
    2. Luciana Méndez, 2017. "So dissatisfied to leave? The role of perceptions, expectations and beliefs on youths’ intention to migrate," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 17-12, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
    3. Strulik, Holger, 2018. "An economic heory of depression and its impact on health behavior and longevity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 337, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mental illness; welfare benefits; healthcare costs; life-satisfaction;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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