Summary of impacts
67. A document submitted to us by the International
Longevity Centre UK (ILC),
cited a number of reports in which the economic cost of mental
ill health had been assessed. Among these was the Policy Brief
of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
which conservatively estimated that the economic costsfor
the 15 countries that were members of the European Union (EU)
before 1 May 2004were at least 3-4% of gross national product.
Of this total, the report stated that most of the quantifiable
costs occurred outside the health sector, being due to lost employment,
absenteeism, poor performance within the workplace and premature
retirement. Typically, they accounted for between 60% and 80%
of the total economic impact/consequences of major mental health
problems. Other important consequences, such as stigmatisation,
social exclusion and fundamental abuses of human rights were rarely
included in economic analysesbecause they were not measurable
in cost termsbut should not be ignored.
68. Mind quoted a report
that in England in 2002/03 the total economic and social costs
of mental ill health were £77 billion. This was broken down
in the report into the following categories:
- £12.5 billion health and
social care costs;
- £23 billion in output losses;
- £41.8 billion in "human costs"
(calculated by assigning a monetary value to the human suffering,
pain, disability and disease associated with mental health).
69. The evidence we received has supported the
statement in the Green Paper that:
"There is no health without mental health. For
citizens, mental health is a resource which enables them to realise
their intellectual and emotional potential and to find and fulfil
their roles in social, school and working life. For societies,
good mental health of citizens contributes to prosperity, solidarity
and social justice. In contrast, mental ill health imposes manifold
costs, losses and burdens on citizens and societal systems."
70. We urge a wider public recognition of
the considerable body of evidence which indicates the substantial
social and economic impact of mental health problems. Our view
is that the heavy responsibilities carried by the families and
other carers of people with mental health problems are too often
overlooked, and that better recognition and support of carers
is essential. We recommend that the Commission encourages EU Member
States to take steps to address these issues, coordinating action
as necessary across many different parts of government and society.