Thursday, September 29, 2011

[EQ] Return on Investment Mental Health Promotion and Mental Illness Prevention

Return on Investment Mental Health Promotion and Mental Illness Prevention

Canadian Policy Network at the University of Western Ontario

Canadian Institute for Health Information. CIHI 2011

Available online PDF file [76p.] at:

“….Mental health issues will be among the leading causes of disability in Canada by 2030, yet there is limited information about the costs of interventions for mental illness prevention and mental health promotion.
This scoping study found that there is research showing a return on investment for some mental health promotion/illness prevention interventions. The strongest evidence was for interventions targeting children and youth (such as those that focus on conduct disorders, depression, parenting, and suicide awareness and prevention), while the weakest evidence was from the workplace sector….”

Key Messages

·          The evidence suggests that there is a return on investment (ROI) for some mental health promotion/illness prevention interventions.

·          There are a number of high-quality systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the topics of ROI for mental health promotion and mental illness prevention; however, the number of randomized trials is low and there is an overall lack of evidence in Canada.

·          There is more evidence for illness prevention activities, and most studies were found at the individual/organizational levels.

·          The weakest evidence was from the workplace sector, due to a lack of high-quality research studies.

·          The strongest ROI evidence was for children/adolescents in the areas of reducing conduct disorders and depression, parenting and anti-bullying/-stigma programs, suicide awareness and prevention, health promotion in schools and primary health care screening for depression and alcohol misuse.

·          There is a lack of standard definitions in the areas of mental health, mental health promotion, mental illness prevention and economic analysis. A common lexicon that crosses sectors is required.

·          Expenditure information on mental health is research-based and likely understated. There is a lack of expenditure information on mental health promotion/mental illness prevention.

·          Returns from mental health promotion/illness prevention typically show up in a different sector from the one in which the investments are made— a “mental health–in-all-policies” approach should be considered.

·          By 2030, mental health issues will be the leading cause of disability in Canada, but Canada appears to be a low spender on mental health.

·          There is mounting evidence that the growing cost to society of mental illness is not sustainable—the total cost to society could be greater than the entire cost of the health care system in Canada.

·          The solution lies in promoting mental health and preventing mental illness—we need to prevent more people from breaking down—and a long-range view is required…”


Table of Contents

Key Messages

Executive Summary



Search Protocol





Social Services and Criminal Justice



Appendix A: Search Strategy Results

Appendix B: Glossary of Health Economic Terms




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