Assessment of the long-term societal benefits from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

5 Feb 2020

Analysis by Pro Bono Economics found that the long-term societal benefits of treatments provided by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in England could be between £2 and £3.2 billion.

Pro Bono Economics analysis of CAMHS outcomes research from the Child Outcomes Research Consortium found that the treatments provided by CAMHS in 2017/18 could provide projected savings of between £1.3 and £2.1 billion in long-term societal benefits to individuals and total long-term savings to government of between £0.7 and £1.1 billion in England. This is equivalent to £3,400 - £5,500 in private benefits and £1,800 – £2,900 in savings to government for every young person treated.

The majority of these benefits are expected to come from increased employment and higher wage rates over the lifetime of the patients.

Our study has also highlighted the relative scarcity of evidence on patient outcomes and the effectiveness of treatments provided by CAMHS. Our work is based on analysis of a set of data that is now five years old and could be significantly improved if:

  • NHS Digital were able to publish significantly more information about the outcomes for the children and young people that CAMHS is treating.
  • Updated evidence is developed through the Millennium Cohort Study on the long-term implications of childhood mental health, ideally using metrics that are broadly consistent with those being adopted by CAMHS for measuring changes in the mental health of patients over time.

Pro Bono Economics hopes that this work serves to further stimulate the policy debate on how we, as a society, invest in the mental health of our children and young people. It offers a starting place for considering the long-term societal benefits of the services that we would be keen to see further developed as more evidence becomes available.

Jenna Jacob, Research Lead at CORC:

“We are excited that CORC members data has been used to inform this interesting and complex analysis. It was great to work with colleagues at Pro Bono Economics to consider the long-term societal benefits and national long-term savings in monetary value, as a novel way to explore CORC data. We are optimistic about the findings, which reflect the effectiveness of the important work being carried out with children and young people across the country. These findings also highlight the ongoing need for increased data quality.” 


The Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC) is the UK’s leading membership organisation that collects and uses evidence to improve children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Founded in 2002 by a group of mental health professionals determined to understand the impact of their work, today our members include mental health service providers, schools, professional bodies and research institutions from across Europe and beyond. We hold data relating to mental health and wellbeing outcomes of more than 400,000 children and young people in the UK, representing the largest data set of this kind worldwide.

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