Cost–effectiveness of preventive interventions for depressive disorders: an overview

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The last 7 years have seen a growing number of cost–effectiveness studies demonstrating that screening people for signs of depression and the subsequent provision of psychological therapy to prevent the onset of depressive disorder is a cost-effective intervention. Many of the studies have expressed outcomes generically, either as quality-adjusted life-years or disability-adjusted life-years, and reported results well below conventional thresholds of ‘value for money.’ However, such interventions are still not routinely delivered in many healthcare systems, suggesting a ‘translational’ gap between evidence and practice. Future research needs to better integrate comprehensive economic evaluation indices into study designs, such as broad assessment of costs and impacts, including non-health impacts, to gain an accurate insight into the broader economic benefits of such interventions. Furthermore, a focus on interventions aimed at children and adolescents, which can demonstrate impact into adulthood, are likely to be highly favourable, both clinically and economically.

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