What’s the ROI of Treatment for Depression and Anxiety?

enterpriseAs companies look more and more at additional benefits that can be provided to employees that also benefit the company, mental health continues to rise in these conversations. The World Health Organization took a look at the ROI of investing in mental health care for employees.

Every $1 USD invested in scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of $4 USD in better health and ability to work, according to a new WHO-led study which estimates, for the first time, both the health and economic benefits of investing in treatment of the most common forms of mental illness globally.

These are some quick facts about the state of depression and anxiety in the world today:

  • Between 1990 and 2013, the number of people experiencing depression and/or anxiety increased  nearly 50% from 416 million to 615 million
  • Close to 10% of the world’s population are affected
  • Mental disorders account for 30% of the global non-fatal disease burden
  • The WHO estimates that, during emergencies, as many as 1 in 5 people are affected by depression and anxiety

A new study conducted by the WHO calculated the treatment costs and health outcomes in 36 low-, middle-, and high-income countries from 2016-2030. The estimated cost to scaling up treatment, primarily in psychosocial counseling and antidepressant medication, equaled $147 billion USD. You’re probably thinking that is a really high number. However, a 5% increase in labor force participation and productivity is valued at $399 billion USD and improved health adds another $310 billion USD in returns.

If it improves employee quality of life and the return is that high, why not invest in making treatment available?


To read the entirety of the update from the WHO, visit their website.

The published study findings can be found in The Lancet Psychiatry here.