Identifying cost effective programmes for mental ill health

Return on investment resources to support local commissioners in designing and implementing mental health and wellbeing support services.

Public Health England has published a new tool designed to identify the most cost-effective programmes to help prevent mental ill health in local communities. The Return on Investment tool (Excel file), launched by Public Health England (PHE) and developed in partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), identifies cost-effective programmes proven to reduce the incidence and/or risk of mental health problems at all stages of life.

There is clear evidence proving that a range of prevention activities promote good mental health and reduce some of the impacts of poor mental health. These actions have also been shown to be cost-effective as a good way of spending money on activities that improve health outcomes.

The interventions examined in this work include:

• school based programmes to prevent bullying and initiatives to prevent depression in children and young people

• workplace programmes to promote mental health and initiatives to help adults at risk of stress, anxiety and depression

• mental health support integrated into the pathways and interventions for people with long term physical health problems eg diabetes and heart disease

• group based social activities, including volunteering, to address loneliness as a way of promoting mental health

• financial advice services for people with debt problems located in primary care

• initiatives to identify and support people who have self-harmed and are potentially suicidal.

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