Investing in preventative mental health services and training, for groups ranging from school children to employees to GPs, would save the country £45billion, research published in Lancet Psychiatry claims today. 

Recommendations made by The Department of Health in 2011 have not been fully rolled out despite the potential benefits to the health and wealth of society that have now been underscored.

If they were to be rolled out in the budget on November 22, the savings made would break down as follows:

  • £4,147m after 5 years from school-based social and emotional learning programmes to prevent 'conduct disorder' for a one year cohort of 10 year olds
  • £9,726m from school-based interventions to reduce bullying for all 5-18 year olds
  • £386m from parenting interventions for parents of a one year cohort of 5 year olds with conduct disorder
  • £4,518m after 2 years from workplace screening and early treatment of depression and anxiety disorder for all employees  
  • £568m after one year and £1,040m after 5 years from suicide awareness training for all GPs in England
  • £62m after one year and £477m after 10 years from early intervention for all adults developing psychosis in a year
  • £457m after one year and £1,693m after 7 years from primary care-based screening and brief intervention for all hazardous and harmful/mild dependent drinkers
  • £310m after 3 years to the health sector from CBT for all adults with schizophrenia in previous year
  • £18,864m after one year to employers from provision of a simple set of interventions to promote wellbeing of all employees

“In an age of austerity, funds to fully roll out the public mental health interventions mentioned in this paper are extremely tight," said Professor Wendy Burn, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. "But to ensure the long-term security of our NHS, the government needs to bite the bullet and invest now to save for the future.”

Mark Brown, former editor of 1 in 4, a magazine for any by people with mental health needs, said: "Suicide related training for GPs would be welcomed by many, as may a set of prescribed wellbeing interventions at work. [But] workplace screening for depression and anxiety, and primary care screening for problem drinking might, for some, have an unpleasant air of ‘doing to’ not ‘doing with."