It is unusual for Foreign Affairs, a magazine published by the United States Council on Foreign Relations in New York, to contain articles on health, but the first issue of 2015 carries an essay (Darkness invisible: the hidden global costs of mental illness) by three distinguished scientists from the National Institute of Mental Health about the hidden costs of mental health.1 Based on evidence from a 2010 Harvard University study on the current and future burden of disease,2 they state that “the direct economic effects of mental illness (such as spending on care) and the indirect effects (such as lost productivity) already cost the global economy around $2.5 trillion a year”, an amount projected to rise by 2030 “to around $6 trillion, in constant dollars — more than heart disease and more than cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases combined”.1
- 1. Insel TR, Collins PY, Hyman SE. Darkness invisible: the hidden global costs of mental illness. Foreign Affairs 2015; 9 Feb. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/142490/thomas-r-insel-pamela-y-collins-and-steven-e-hyman/darkness-invisible (accessed Feb 2015).
- 2. Bloom DE, Cafiero ET, Jané-Llopis E, et al. The global economic burden of noncommunicable diseases. Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2011. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Harvard_HE_GlobalEconomicBurdenNonCommunicableDiseases_2011.pdf (accessed Feb 2015).
- 3. World Health Organization. Health statistics and information systems. Estimates for 2000–2012. Disease burden. YLD estimates, 2000–2012. Global summary estimates. Geneva: WHO, 2012. http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/estimates/en/index2.html (accessed Feb 2015).
- 4. World Health Organization. Mental health. Suicide data. http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/ (accessed Feb 2015).
- 5. Australian Government Department of Health. National mental health report 2007. Per capita spending by state and territory governments. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-pubs-n-report07-toc~mental-pubs-n-report07-c~mental-pubs-n-report07-c-5~mental-pubs-n-report07-c-5-per (accessed Feb 2015).
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