Economic evaluation of the anti-stigma social marketing campaign in England 2009–2011

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Abstract

Background

Evidence on the economic impact of social marketing anti-stigma campaigns in relation to people with mental illness is limited.

Aims

To describe the economic impact of the Time to Change (TTC) anti-stigma social marketing campaign, including the potential effects on the wider economy.

Method

Data collected for the evaluation of TTC were combined with the social marketing campaign expenditure data to investigate differences in knowledge, attitudes and behaviour in relation to campaign awareness. To evaluate the return on investment, we applied a decision model that estimated the impact on employment for people with depression.

Results

Based on average national social marketing campaign costs, the economic benefits outweighed costs even if the campaign resulted in only 1% more people with depression accessing services and gaining employment if they experienced a health improvement. The cost per person with improved intended behaviour was at most £4 if we assume the campaign was responsible for 50% of the change. Costs associated with improved knowledge and attitudes, however, were more variable.

Conclusions

The findings suggest that the TTC anti-stigma social marketing campaign is a potentially cost-effective and low-cost intervention for reducing the impact of stigma on people with mental health problems.

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