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Br J Psychiatry. 2010 Aug;197(2):114-21. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.073635.

Associations of serious mental illness with earnings: results from the WHO World Mental Health surveys.

Author information

  • 1Ministry of Health, Mental Health Services, Jerusalem, Israel.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Burden-of-illness data, which are often used in setting healthcare policy-spending priorities, are unavailable for mental disorders in most countries.

AIMS:

To examine one central aspect of illness burden, the association of serious mental illness with earnings, in the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys.

METHOD:

The WMH Surveys were carried out in 10 high-income and 9 low- and middle-income countries. The associations of personal earnings with serious mental illness were estimated.

RESULTS:

Respondents with serious mental illness earned on average a third less than median earnings, with no significant between-country differences (chi(2)(9) = 5.5-8.1, P = 0.52-0.79). These losses are equivalent to 0.3-0.8% of total national earnings. Reduced earnings among those with earnings and the increased probability of not earning are both important components of these associations.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results add to a growing body of evidence that mental disorders have high societal costs. Decisions about healthcare resource allocation should take these costs into consideration.

PMID:
20679263
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2913273
Free PMC Article
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