£48.6 bn – that’s the cost of mental illness to society

February 10, 2010 at 5:25 pm 3 comments

By Peter Baeck

I’m a doing a lot of research on the potential savings to society if the 13 case studies we are looking at in Radical Efficiency were to be implemented in the UK. One the cases look at the mental health first aid program (MHFA) developed in Australia. I’m not going in to detail about what MHFA is about, or what it could it save if it was implemented more broadly than it is now (there are some MHFA programs in the UK), you can read about that in the report when we publish it by the end of this month. As part of my research i came across some scary figures from paying the price,  a report from 200* by the Kings Fund.  Did you know that the estimated cost of mental illness to society is  £48.6 bn (service costs 22.5 bn. + lost earnings 26.1 bn.), that is 1.3% of GDP!! In a time where public budgets are being squeezed, and politicians as well as experts predict cuts in public spending in the next many years, this raises some serious questions to how we best deal with the burdens of mental illness’ and the other big challenges to our public services in the future.  At Innovation Unit we are preparing our bid to how this can be done, and hopefully Radical Efficiency can help give answers to the questions you might have about the future of public services!

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Entry filed under: Public Services, Radical Efficiency.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • […] £48.6 bn – thats the cost of mental illness to society « Disciplined Innovation […]

    Reply
  • 2. Andy Gibson  |  February 11, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Great post Peter, and fits nicely with what we’re exploring over here at Mindapples.

    I’m interested in where you got the £48.6bn figure. I think the Friedli & Parsonage figure from 2007 was £110 billion a year (not that I can actually get hold of the report online – sigh), but has the research moved on?

    Whatever the exact figure is though, the scale of it means we don’t think this can be solved by public services: we need a cultural intervention to reshape our social attitudes to mentally healthy living. Radical efficiency will be much easier to achieve within a more functional culture for “mental health” (not “mental illness”), and alongside greater individual agency and engagement.

    Interested in talking more…

    Reply
    • 3. thirup  |  February 12, 2010 at 1:32 pm

      Andy, i got the figures from the table in Paying The Price on page 118. What is so alarming is that if we don’t do anything about it the costs are projected to continue growing resulting in the total cost of mental illness to society in 2027 being £88.45bn if nothing is done. I just checked your blog, if you host another Green Sunday in Hackney, let me know, it sounds interesting.

      Reply

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