Black woman wearing red jumper doing the washing up at home.

The economic and social costs of mental ill health

27 March 2024

Review of methodology and update of calculations

Frederico Cardoso and Zoë McHayle

Mental ill health has a devastating impact on people’s lives. This report seeks to calculate the costs of mental ill health on individuals, society and the economy. 

This analysis finds that the total cost of mental ill health in England in 2022 was £300 billion. The cost is comprised of three major elements:  

  1. Economic costs of £110bn: Losses to the economy due to mental ill health. These include the business costs of sickness absence and ‘presenteeism’ at work, as well as staff turnover and unemployment among people with mental ill health.  
  1. Human costs of £130bn: The value, expressed in monetary terms, of reduced quality of life and premature mortality among people living with mental health difficulties  
  1. Health and care costs of £60bn: This includes support provided by public services and informal care provided by family and friends.  

Commissioned by the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, the report finds that the majority of these costs fall on people living with mental health difficulties and their families (£175bn) through loss of earnings, informal care, a reduction in quality of life, and having to self-fund mental health support.   

The overall costs of mental ill health equate to double the NHS’s entire budget in England in 2022 (£153bn). They are similar to the estimated impact of Covid-19 on the UK economy in 2020 (£260bn in 2020 prices) – comparable, economically, to having a pandemic every year.  

For the first time in a study of this kind, the report’s calculations incorporate some of the wider costs, including the impact of presenteeism and staff turnover due to mental ill health.  

These new figures underscore the urgent need for Government action to turn the tide on rising poor mental health. Investing in preventing mental ill health and improving support for people living with mental health difficulties can turn the tide on these wider costs, as well as boosting the public’s health. Failure to act now may lead to even higher costs that no government can afford to ignore.  

We’re calling for a comprehensive ten-year mental health strategy, as set out by more than 60 organisations in A Mentally Healthier Nation.  

Join us in the fight for equality in mental health

We’re dedicated to eradicating mental health inequalities. But we can’t do it without your support.

Please take this journey with us – donate today.

Donate now

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


We take care to protect and respect any personal data you share with us.
For information on how we use your data, check out our privacy policy.