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Greater budget share for mental health related to greater happiness

The availability of professional mental health care seems to be strongly related to average happiness in developed nations. Governments who want greater happiness for a larger number of its country’s citizens should consider investing more in mental health care, concludes research conducted by Giorgio Touburg, PhD candidate at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Professor Ruut Veenhoven, Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization (EHERO).



In their research paper, entitled Mental Health Care and Average Happiness: Strong Effect in Developed Nations, Giorgio Touburg  and Ruut Veenhoven argue that in modern society happiness is of great value. There is strong support for the idea that governments should aim at greater happiness for a greater number. One of the things governments can do to raise the level of happiness is to invest more in mental health care, because mental disorders are a major cause of unhappiness in modern society. Investment in mental health care is therefore likely to add to average happiness.

Touburg and Veenhoven checked this assumption in a comparison of 143 nations based on the most recent World Health Organization numbers. 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. They found a considerable correlation between average happiness and investment in mental health care in the most developed nations.

Mental Health Care and Average Happiness: Strong Effect in Developed Nations was published in August 2014 in Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. The full paper can be found here.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is ranked among Europe’s top 10 business schools for education and among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan. www.rsm.nl

Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization (EHERO) is located at the Erasmus School of School of Economics (ESE). The ESE has provided excellent education and produced excellent research for over a century. Many successful careers have started here. Graduates of Erasmus School of Economics are ideally equipped for success in the business community, government positions and research anywhere in the world. You can recognise economists from Rotterdam by their effectiveness, drive, commitment and academic attitude. Erasmus School of Economics not only devotes attention to the issues of today, but we also focus on possible solutions to the problems of tomorrow. www.ese.eur.nl.

For more information on this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at mschouten@rsm.nl or Ronald de Groot, Media & Public Relations Manager for Erasmus School of Economics, on +31 653 641 846 or by email at rdegroot@ese.eur.nl.

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