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 (χ2(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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health