It’s a common phrase in lawsuits: “For pain and suffering.” But are we doing people a favor by awarding them huge financial settlements? Or should we instead award them good mental health care? Recently released research suggests that an increase in income, whether on a national or individual level, is over 30 times less effective in increasing happiness than good mental health.
Chris Boyce of the University of Warwick and Alex Wood of the University of Manchester compared large data sets where 1000s of people had reported on their well-being. They then looked at how well-being changed due to therapy compared to getting sudden increases in income, such as through lottery wins or pay rises. They found that a 4 month course of psychological therapy had a large effect on well-being. They then showed that the increase in well-being from an £800 course of therapy was so large that it would take a pay rise of over £25,000 to achieve an equivalent increase in well-being. The research therefore demonstrates that psychological therapy could be 32 times more cost effective at making you happy than simply obtaining more money.
What do you think? Should we focus more on mental health post-trauma? What can we do to decrease the stigma against mental health in the U.S.?