Preventing depression in the WHO European Region (2016)



Depression is a leading cause of non-fatal disease burden worldwide, with a lifetime prevalence of 9% among European adult men and 17% among European adult women. The economic costs associated with depression are staggering: in 2007, the economic costs of depression alone amounted to €136.3 billion in the European Economic Area. The largest share of these costs stem from reduced productivity (€99.3 billion) and health care costs (€37.0 billion).

Over all, the current scientific evidence-base supports preventive action across the countries of the WHO European Region. The task at hand requires substantial investments in preventive mental health care, but the potential benefits can be equally rewarding. After all, mental wellbeing is a key resource for learning, productivity, participation and inclusion. Investing in proactive care to promote, protect and sustain mental health in the population is therefore likely to offer good value for money.