New Government figures reveal the economic burden of depression has risen to £9bn a year

Release Date: 22 November 2010

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

New figures published today by Jo Swinson MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics, have revealed that depression is costing the UK economy over £9bn a year in lost earnings – an increase of £4bn since 1999, and a rise of over £500m in the last year alone*.

In response to the figures, Dr Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation commented:

“These new figures once again demonstrate the spiralling cost of depression to the UK economy, and emphasise the need, especially at this time of economic uncertainty, for us to tackle this problem before it becomes unmanageable.

“The Government has delivered a lot of promises on how it intends to address the growing issue of mental illness in this country, and we will be paying close attention to ensure it now delivers on these promises, through approaches such as increased investment in talking therapies.

“However, with the economic climate playing a role in the increasing rates of depression, there is also a role for employers in addressing this problem.  All due steps to look after staff mental health should be taken, including measures such as risk-sharing, achievable workloads, a healthy work environment, good internal communication and sound HR and peer support structures. Employees should also be actively encouraged to visit a GP or counsellor as early as possible with any concerns, to address problems before they reach crisis point. The increased rates of absenteeism and impaired productivity amongst those who remain at work that could result from not implementing these practices create extra costs for employers”.

*Figures commissioned by Jo Swinson MP and calculated by the Research Service of the House of Commons Library. For further information or for comment from Jo Swinson MP, please contact Henk Van Klaveren in the Liberal Democrat press office on 020 7227 1232