We want the prevention of poor mental health to be at the centre of the UK’s approach to mental health.
Our new report with the London School of Economics and Political Science, ‘The economic case for investing in the prevention of mental health conditions in the UK’, provides evidence from the UK and around the world that proves prevention interventions work.
Poor mental health costs the UK a staggering £118 billion per year, but much of this is preventable.
Many mental health problems are preventable, so it is counter-productive to wait until problems arise before providing support. The report describes cost-effective programmes that can prevent poor mental health.
By focusing on the prevention of poor mental health, we can reduce both economic and personal costs, and support more people to live mentally healthy lives.
Rather than waiting for people to become unwell and trying to get treatment, governments and decision-makers should commit to policies that promote good mental health and invest in community programmes that empower everyone, especially people at higher risk, to live well.
The report demonstrates the success of initiatives such as parenting programmes, anti-bullying programmes, and workplace support. Not only are people supported to have good mental health, but there are significant cost savings. For example, one study found that for every £1 spent on parenting programmes, £9.30 could be saved in the long-term, through costs saved to the health, education and criminal justice sectors.
This research adds to the growing evidence that we present to decision-makers across the UK as we seek to influence the policies and investments that impact all our mental health. There is an opportunity to revolutionise how we approach mental health in the UK; focusing on preventing poor mental health, enabling people to thrive, and saving our economy billions of GBP in the long term.