Mental Health Return on Investment: A Primer

Mental Health Return on Investment: A Primer

This guidance document or ‘primer’ provides an introduction to the principles and practice of return on investment (ROI) analysis, with particular reference to its application to global mental health. The concept behind any ROI analysis is deceptively simple: are the benefits associated with an investment of resources greater than the costs incurred, and if so, by how much? In practice, a number of essential data inputs and analytical decisions are needed to arrive at such an answer, including what costs and benefits to include, what time frame to use and, most importantly, what is the specific policy question to be addressed. This primer considers each of these practical considerations in turn, illustrating them with examples from the field of global mental health innovation.


  1. Introduction: what is return on investment; why do we need it?
  2. Return on investment in Global Mental Health
    • Analytical framework
    • Principles into practice
    • Analytical requirements
    • Worked example
  3. Conclusion: economic evidence as an input to decision-making
  4. References and further reading


Policy and legislation
Training, education and capacity building
All mental health conditions