“This paper is a contribution to the second World Happiness Report. It makes five main points:
1. Mental health is the biggest single predictor of life-satisfaction. This is so in the UK, Germany and
Australia even if mental health is included with a six-year lag. It explains more of the variance of lifesatisfaction
in the population of a country than physical health does, and much more than
unemployment and income do. Income explains 1% of the variance of life-satisfaction or less.
2. Much the most common forms of mental illness are depression and anxiety disorders. Rigorously
defined, these affect about 10% of all the world’s population – and prevalence is similar in rich and
3. Depression and anxiety are more common during working age than in later life. They account for a
high proportion of disability and impose major economic costs and financial losses to governments
4. Yet even in rich countries, under a third of people with diagnosable mental illness are in treatment.
5. Cost-effective treatments exist, with recovery rates of 50% or more. In rich countries treatment is
likely to have no net cost to the Exchequer due to savings on welfare benefits and lost taxes. But even
in poor countries a reasonable level of coverage could be obtained at a cost of under $2 per head of
population per year.”
Read the report at: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1239.pdf