SOCIAL SCIENCES

Thrive: How Better Mental Health Care Transforms Lives and Saves Money

Layard, Richard & . Princeton Univ. Sept. 2015. 392p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691169637. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781400873333. PSYCH
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Layard (economics, London Sch. of Economics; Happiness) and Clark (psychology, Oxford Univ.) present an impassioned and evidence-based argument for social investment in mental health care. Economists have begun to advocate evaluation of policy outcomes by holistic measures of well-being rather than purely economic measures such as gross domestic product (GDP) (see Carol L. Graham's The Pursuit of Happiness). Once the goal of policy has been framed as improving welfare, it becomes clear that treating mental illness, especially depression and anxiety, holds great potential for better social outcomes. Layard and Clark meticulously document evidence for the social costs of mental illness, the effectiveness of treatments—especially cognitive behavioral therapy—and the feasibility of transforming access to treatment, including results of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies project of England's National Health Service. While the book touches on medications, more severe conditions such as schizophrenia, and mental illness in developing nations, the main focus is on making available psychotherapy for depression and anxiety in developed countries.
VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in mental health and health policy.

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