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1.3 The cost of mental health

The Centre for Mental Health reports that in 2009/2010 the total cost of mental illness was £105.2 billion in England alone (see Figure 3). In children and young people, mental health problems are associated with additional annual costs estimated between £11,030 and £59,130 per child in the UK. These excess costs are shouldered directly by affected families, and a range of agencies, including education, social services and youth justice. By providing effective early intervention services, significant life-long savings can be made in each case. For example, the lifetime costs of a one year cohort of children with conduct disorder (approximately 6% of the UK child population) is estimated at £5.2 billion, with each child affected costing around ten times more than a child without the disorder.

Effective early intervention services have the potential to reduce the lifetime costs per case of severe conduct disorder by £150,000, and £75,000 for cases of moderate conduct disorders. [15],[16]

The cost of mental illness in England 2009/2010

Figure 3 – The cost of mental illness in England 2009/2010 (from the Centre for Mental Health’s Economic Burden of Mental Illness Cannot Be Tackled Without Research Investment)


[15] Suhrcke M, Puillas D, Selai C: Economic aspects of mental health in children and adolescents. In Social cohesion for mental wellbeing among adolescents. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2008:43-64

[16] CMO report