Economic and social costs: statistics

Mental health problems are associated with large direct costs for individuals and society, such as the provision of health and social care, and indirect costs including lost employment.

  • In 2015, common mental health problems (e.g. anxiety, depression and stress) and more serious mental health problems were the third most important cause of sick leave. In 2015, mental-health-related issues were found to lead to approximately 17.6 million days’ sick leave, or 12.7% of the total sick days taken in the UK.1
  • Research carried out by Oxford Economics suggests that 181,600 people cannot join the labour force because of their mental health problems.2
  • According to calculations by Oxford Economics, it is estimated that the UK GDP in 2015 could have been over £25 billion higher than what it was if not for the economic consequences of mental health problems to both individuals and businesses. This value is a total of 1.3% higher than what it was.3
  • It has been estimated that the cost to UK GDP of workers either leaving the workforce entirely, or going part time in order to care for someone with a mental health problem, was £5.4 billion in 2015, with over 91% of this amount being due to those leaving the labour force entirely.4

Browse all of the mental health statistics

Our 2016 study 'The Fundamental Facts about Mental Health' follows a comprehensive summary of mental health research, providing a unique handbook of key facts and figures, covering all key areas of mental health.
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A-Z Topics

Learn more about what impacts our mental health with our A-Z glossary pages.
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1 ONS. (2016). UK Labour Market: July 2016. Retrieved from [Accessed 08/09/16].

2 Oxford Economics. (2016). The economic importance of safeguarding mental health in the workplace. Personal communication

3 ibid

4 ONS. (2016). UK Labour Market: July 2016. Retrieved from [Accessed 08/09/16].