Mental health statistics: economic and social costs

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

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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].