Author: Michael Plant
Mental health problems affect a huge number of people around the world but remain neglected by governments and NGOs. However, effective treatments exist. This makes mental health a very promising problem to work on to improve global happiness. In this series of posts, we present a shallow investigation of the scale, neglectedness and tractability of mental health as a cause area. We conduct a basic back-of-the-envelope calculation comparing the cost-effectiveness of a mental health charity, StrongMinds, with GiveDirectly, a poverty-alleviating charity recommended by GiveWell. Although rough, this suggests that mental health interventions could be as or more cost-effective than current recommended poverty-alleviating charities. More research and data are needed to be able to more accurately compare mental health interventions to alternatives; we outline some areas where further research would be helpful.
A large and neglected problem