Economic and social Mental health impact in England

New research shows £300bn impact of mental ill health in England

Healthcare leaders are calling for a new 10-year mental health strategy and government investment after new research commissioned by the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network shows the cost of mental ill health for England was £300bn in 2022.

The study, conducted by the Centre for Mental Health, shows that the £300bn figure breaks down into:

  • £110bn – economic costs such as sickness absence, presenteeism, staff turnover and unemployment
  • £130bn – human costs such as reduced quality of life and premature mortality
  • £60bn – health and care costs such as support from public services and informal care delivered by family and friends

This is almost double the health service’s budget for England in 2022, which was £155.5bn.

“This is like a pandemic happening every year.”

The report, The economic and social costs of mental ill health, highlights that most of the costs fall on people living with mental health issues and their families.

According to the Centre for Mental Health, there is a £175bn impact on patients and their loved ones, while £25bn falls on the state and £101bn to businesses.

“A pound sign can never fully reflect the suffering caused by mental ill health,” said Andy Bell, chief executive at the Centre for Mental Health.

“But these figures signal an urgent need for the Government, and all political parties at the next election, to prioritise the public’s mental health. This is like a pandemic happening every year. Inaction is not an option.”

The study also shows the economic toll mental ill health has on people’s ability to carry out unpaid work – like housework – which is estimated to be £3.4bn.

The Centre for Mental Health and the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network are revitalising the call for a comprehensive 10-year mental health plan, which was set out last autumn as part of A mentally healthier nation.

“…this simply cannot be ignored by policy makers.”

NHS Providers’ deputy chief executive, Saffron Cordery, said the report represents “another timely reminder” of the impact when mental health is not prioritised.

"Mental health must be a national priority across government, backed by long-term, sustainable levels of investment,” said Saffron.

Sean Duggan OBE, the chief executive at the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, added: “With the overall cost double the cost of the NHS’s entire annual budget, this simply cannot be ignored by policy makers.”

He continued: “It is vital that we now invest in effective interventions that bring us closer to a mentally healthier nation for all.”

Image credit: iStock

NHE March/April 2024

NHE March/April 2024

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