Economic aspects of mental health in children and adolescents




Mental illness is increasingly being recognized as the most signifi cant health concern for children and adolescents in developed countries, with an estimated prevalence of 8% to 23% of the child and adolescent population in European countries (4,5). Prevalence rates seem to be rising, particularly in psychosocial disorders among young people (6). While prevalence and, partly, trend data are well documented and understood, there is also a need to document the associated economic burden of mental illness, as well as the economic return (or “cost–effectiveness”) of interventions aiming to address the problem.

The purpose of this background paper is to explore these two issues.