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EBC is pleased to host a symposium on ‘Assessing the value of mental health treatments for youth in Europe’, set to take place on 7 April 2024 at 10:00-11:30 at the 32nd European Congress of Psychiatry.

While substantially diverse across healthcare segments and ill-health conditions, excess healthcare costs associated with the increased risks of physical comorbidities linked to mental health disorders have been found to be between 37% to 110%, calling for more tailored policy considerations towards integrated care options. Furthermore, the economic value of life years lost due to morbidity and mortality linked to mental health disorders exceeds their cost impact: recently, this was valued as between 6% and 7.7% of GDP in Europe, suggesting potentially large returns on investment from improved prevention, detection, and treatment of mental health problems.

Effective and cost-effective early detection and interventions exist, however there are numerous unmet needs along the mental health care pathways. Navigating the mental health services system is often complex for patients and families due to fragmented or disrupted services (in-patient and outpatient care) and discontinuity of care (transition between child and adult mental health services, for example). Policies and programmes to prevent and mitigate the negative impacts on schooling, employment, families and risky behaviors are also paramount. Nevertheless, spill-over effects to other economic sectors (work, education, legal system, informal care) are usually neglected in economic burden and value assessments. Current value estimates usually also remain limited in terms of comprehensive outcome assessment for patients and families, and comprehensive and comparable societal cost impact assessment due to the lack of relevant data.
There is a clear need to look at value-based healthcare as the desired solution or path forward in improving health systems. Achieving high value for patients must become the overarching goal of health care delivery, with value defined as the health outcomes achieved per money spent. The approach towards more comprehensive mental health care models critically intertwines wider patient and societal outcomes with efficient spending of resources. Reinforcing this should lead to both better care for patients and a more sustainable framework for payers in Europe. Speakers of the session and experts involved in the Value of Treatment project, coordinated by the European Brain Council, will focus on early detection and continuity of care for persons living with selected mental disorders. The research project – which combines care pathways analysis and economic analyses – included three case studies related to anorexia nervosa (AN), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). It aimed to identify treatment gaps, assess the potential outcomes and costs of optimised care, and provide policy recommendations.


Celso Arango
Full Professor of Psychiatry, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Paul McCrone
Health Economist, University of Greenwich

David McDaid
Associate Professorial Research Fellow in Health Policy and Health Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science

Judit Simon
Professor of Health Economics, Medical University of Vienna