Mental Health Care and Average Happiness: Strong Effect in Developed Nations
- 756 Downloads
Mental disorder is a main cause of unhappiness in modern society and investment in mental health care is therefore likely to add to average happiness. This prediction was checked in a comparison of 143 nations around 2005. Absolute investment in mental health care was measured using the per capita number of psychiatrists and psychologists working in mental health care. Relative investment was measured using the share of mental health care in the total health budget. Average happiness in nations was measured with responses to survey questions about life-satisfaction. Average happiness appeared to be higher in countries that invest more in mental health care, both absolutely and relative to investment in somatic medicine. A data split by level of development shows that this difference exists only among developed nations. Among these nations the link between mental health care and happiness is quite strong, both in an absolute sense and compared to other known societal determinants of happiness. The correlation between happiness and share of mental health care in the total health budget is twice as strong as the correlation between happiness and size of the health budget. A causal effect is likely, but cannot be proved in this cross-sectional analysis.
KeywordsSubjective well-being Happiness Cross-national Public health Mental health care
- Achterhuis, H. (1980). De markt van welzijn en geluk: een kritiek van de andragogie [The Well-Being and Prosperity Market]. Baarn: Ambo.Google Scholar
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual IV: Text revision (DSM-IV-TR). Washington: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
- Bălţătescu, S. (2006). Transition is over, wait to see the benefits: A comparative evaluation of the effects of post-communist transition on life satisfaction. Paper presented at 2nd CEU Graduate Conference in Social Sciences. The End of Transitions? Central and Eastern European Countries in Comparative Perspective. Budapest (May 5–7).Google Scholar
- BBC. (2006). The happiness formula: Opinion poll. Retrieved April 13, 2013, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/29_03_06_happiness_gfkpoll.pdf.
- Dehue, G. C. G. (2008). De depressie-epidemie: Over de plicht het lot in eigen hand te nemen [The depression epidemic]. Amsterdam: Augustus.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2006). Special eurobarometer 248: Mental well-being. Retrieved March 13, 2007, from http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_information/documents/ebs_248_en.pdf.
- Frances, A. J. (2012). DSM 5 is guide not bible—ignore its ten worst changes. In Psychology today: DSM 5 in distress. Retrieved May 7, 2013, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dsm5-in-distress/201212/dsm-5-is-guide-not-bible-ignore-its-ten-worst-changes.
- Freund, R. J., Wilson, W. J., & Sa, P. (2006). Regression analysis: Statistical modeling of a response variable (2nd ed.). Burlington: Academic.Google Scholar
- Furedi, F. (2004). Therapy culture: Cultivating vulnerability in an uncertain age. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Harding, S. D. (1985). Values and the nature of psychological well-being. In M. Abrams, D. Gerard, & N. Timms (Eds.), Values and social change in Britain (pp. 227–252). London: McMillan.Google Scholar
- Healy, D. (2012). Pharmageddon. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- ISS. (2013). Data indices of social development. Retrieved May 6, 2013, from http://www.indsocdev.org/data-access.html.
- Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., & Mastruzzi, M. (2008). Governance Matters VII: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996–2007. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4654.Google Scholar
- Layard, R. (2005). Happiness: Lessons from a new science. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
- Roth, A., & Fonagy, P. (2005). Conclusions and implications. In A. Roth & P. Fonagy (Eds.), What works for whom? A critical review of psychotherapy research (2nd ed., pp. 479–510). New York/London: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Trimbos, C. J. B. J. (1975). Antipsychiatrie: Een Overzicht [Anti-psychiatry: An overview]. Deventer: Van Loghum Slaterus.Google Scholar
- UNDP. (2007). Human development report 2007/2008: Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world. Retrieved May 6, 2013, from http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_20072008_EN_Complete.pdf.
- UNDP. (2011). Human Development Report 2011: Sustainability and equity: A better future for all. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2011_EN_Complete.pdf.
- Unger, R., & Schulze, A. (2013). Can we really (all) work longer? Trends in healthy life expectancy according to social stratum in Germany. Comparative population studies. Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, 38(3), 565–582.Google Scholar
- Van Gageldonk, A., & Donker, M. (1999). Effectiviteit van de Geestelijke Gezondheidszorg. Een Empirische Plaatsbepaling [The effectiveness of mental health care]. Tijdschrift Voor Gezondheidswetenschappen, 77(3), 169–175.Google Scholar
- Veenhoven, R. (2012). Happiness: Also known as life satisfaction and subjective well-being. In K. C. Land, A. C. Michalos, & M. J. Sirgy (Eds.), Handbook of social indicators and quality of life research (pp. 63–77). Dordrecht/Heidelberg/London/New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Veenhoven, R. (2013a). Average happiness in 149 nations 2000–2009. In World Database of Happiness. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl/hap_nat/findingreports/RankReport_AverageHappiness.php.
- Veenhoven, R. (2013b). Happiness in nations. In world database of happiness. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl/hap_nat/nat_fp.php.
- Veenhoven, R. (2013c). Measures of happiness. In world database of happiness. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl/hap_quer/hqi.htm.
- Veenhoven, R. (2013d). States of nations: Data file to be used for the cross-national analysis of happiness. In world database of happiness. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl/statnat/statnat_fp.htm.
- Veenhoven, R. & Vergunst, F. (forthcoming). The Easterlin Illusion: Economic growth does go with greater happiness. International Journal of Happiness and Development.Google Scholar
- Wang, P. S., Aguilar-Gaxiola, S., Alonso, J., Angermeyer, M. C., Borges, G., Bromet, E. J., et al. (2007). Worldwide use of mental health services for anxiety, mood, and substance disorders: Results from 17 countries in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. The Lancet, 370(9590), 841–850.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- WHO International Consortium in Psychiatric Epidemiology. (2000). Cross-national comparisons of the prevalences and correlates of mental disorders. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 78(4), 413–426.Google Scholar
- World Health Organization. (2005a). Atlas data on the interactive site. In WHO Project Atlas. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://apps.who.int/globalatlas/DataQuery/default.asp.
- World Health Organization. (2005b). Mental Health Atlas 2005: Global results. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/atlas/global_results.pdf.
- World Health Organization. (2011). Mental health Atlas 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/44697/1/9799241564359_eng.pdf.