Mental illness is a leading cause of suffering in the modern world. In sheer numbers, it afflicts at least 20 percent of people in developed countries. It reduces life expectancy as much as smoking does, accounts for nearly half of all disability claims, is behind half of all worker sick days, and affects educational achievement and income. There are effective tools for alleviating mental illness, but most sufferers remain untreated or undertreated. What should be done to change this? In Thrive, Richard Layard and David Clark argue for fresh policy approaches to how we think about and deal with mental illness, and they explore effective solutions to its miseries and injustices.
Layard and Clark show that modern psychological therapies are highly effective and could potentially turn around the lives of millions of people at little or no cost. This is because treating psychological problems generates huge savings on physical health care, as well as massive economic savings through more people working. So psychological therapies would effectively pay for themselves, generating potential savings for nations the world over. Layard and Clark describe how various successful psychological treatments have been developed and explain what works best for whom. They also discuss how mental illness can be prevented through better schools and a better society, and the urgency of doing so.
Illustrating why we cannot afford to ignore the issue of mental illness, Thrive opens the door to new options and possibilities for one of the most serious problems facing us today.
“Extremely easy and pleasurable to read. It’s the most comprehensive, humane and generous study of mental illness that I’ve come across.” —Melvyn Bragg, author of The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language
“Remarkable . . . presents the issues in a style that is easy for the professional, the general public, and policy makers to understand.”—Aaron T. Beck, emeritus professor, University of Pennsylvania
“Layard and Clark (the Dream Team of British Social Science) make a compelling case for a massive injection of resources into the treatment and prevention of mental illness. This is simply the best book on public policy and mental health ever written.”—Martin Seligman, author of Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
“Drawing together disparate material, this important book addresses an issue that is not widely known. Psychologists who teach and offer mental health interventions will find the book interesting, and those who are arguing for more mental health services will find it invaluable.”—Edward Diener, coauthor of Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth
“This clearly written and accessible book explores an incredibly important issue.”—Angus Deaton, author of The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality
“This book is an inspiring success story and a stirring call to further action. Its message is as compelling as it is important: the social costs of mental illness are terribly high and the costs of effective treatments are surprisingly low.”—Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow
About the Authors:
Richard Layard is one of the world's leading labor economists and a member of the House of Lords. He is the author of Happiness: Lessons from a New Science (Penguin), which has been translated into twenty languages.
David M. Clark is professor of psychology at the University of Oxford. Layard and Clark were the main drivers behind the UK's Improving Access to Psychological Therapies program.