Cost of mental health problems in Scotland £8.6 billion in 2004-05
SAMH Scotland’s leading mental health charity, commissioned us to undertake an analysis of the social and economic costs of mental health problems in Scotland, following the publication of similar studies in England and Northern Ireland. The study examined not only the costs of providing health and social care services and losses to the economy, but also the personal costs of mental health problems.
Findings indicate that in 2005, the total cost of mental health problems in Scotland was £8.6 billion. This is more than the total amount spent in Scotland by the NHS on all health conditions combined, and is equivalent in monetary value to 9% of our Gross Domestic Product.
Fifty-five percent of the overall cost is attributed to the human costs of mental health problems. This means that the lion’s share of these costs is actually being borne by people who have mental health problems. The report found these human costs amount to £4.7 billion: more than four times the cost of all NHS and local authority mental health services in Scotland.
SAMH believes that What’s it Worth? reinforces the need for mental health promotion and prevention work to continue with added vigour, and for the barriers to mental health and well-being to be systematically dismantled.
In response to these findings, SAMH has produced an Agenda for Action for the 2007 Scottish elections, clearly stating what political commitments are needed on mental health in Scotland. Our Agenda for Action focuses on four key areas; Rights, Resilience, Recovery and Resources, and was developed through consultation with our membership: many of whom have personal experience of mental health problems.
SAMH Chief Executive, Shona Neil, said: “This report highlights the huge cost of failing to promote mental health and well-being for everyone. The best way to reduce these costs is to:
In other words, to act on the demands that SAMH is making in our Agenda for Action.”
SCMH chief executive Angela Greatley said: “The costs of mental ill health are massive. Most of them fall upon people with mental health problems and their families, many of whom live in poverty because of the prejudice and discrimination that still surround mental illness. By quantifying the cost, we can show what can be achieved if we take the issue seriously and invest in improving the lives of the people affected by it.”