Quantifying the Global Cost of Mental Disorders

Abstract image with colorful shapes

Epidemiologic and economic estimates suggest that the global burden of mental disorders is considerable, both in its impacts on human health and losses to societal welfare. CHDS faculty Stéphane Verguet and Harvard Chan School’s Daniel Arias and Shekhar Saxena review, develop, and incorporate new estimates and methods to quantify the global burden of mental illness in a recent paper in eClinicalMedicine, part of The Lancet Discovery Science.

Building on data from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease study, their study uses a composite estimation approach that accounts for premature mortality due to mental disorders and additional sources of morbidity, and applies a value of a statistical life approach to economic valuation to determine global and regional estimates of the economic cost that can be associated with mental disorders. The authors estimate that 418 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) could be attributable to mental disorders in 2019 (16% of global DALYs)—more than a three-fold increase compared to conventional estimates. The economic value associated with this burden is estimated at about USD 5 trillion. At a regional level, the losses could account for between 4% of gross domestic product in Eastern sub-Saharan Africa and 8% in High-income North America.

Learn more: Read the publication, Quantifying the Global Burden of Mental Disorders and Their Economic Value
Learn more: View the article’s visual representation of DALYs, YLDs, YLLs, and deaths attributable to mental disorders in 2019
Learn more: Resource Pack: Mental Health and Modeling

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