02 de maig 2018

Mental health: the problem and what can be done

THRIVE: How Better Mental Health Care Transforms Lives and Saves Money

I have to recognise it. Mental health is a difficult issue, and all the efforts to decrease its impact on individual and social welfare are not enough by now. The book by Layard and Clark is a useful reference. I had to read it since long time. It says:
Mental illness is the great hidden problem in our societies, so most people are amazed when they hear the scale of it. In the Western world today one in six of all adults suffers from depression or a crippling anxiety disorder. Roughly a third of households currently include someone who is mentally ill.
I don't know the exact figure, but I agree with the statement.
Mental illness is not just a problem for those it affects directly. It also imposes huge costs on the rest of society. So the case for tackling the problem is not just humanitarian—it is also a matter of plain economics. Mental health problems diminish work, increase crime, and make additional demands on physical health care.
So, what is the cost? The answer is huge. Layard and Clark provide some figures. And in the second part of the book, they review the alternative approaches to the issue. A highly recommended book by one of the greatest economists of our time.

PS Great Tribute to Uwe Reinhardt in NYT by Paul Krugman.