Objective: Depression has economic consequences not only for the health system, but also for individuals and society. This study aims to quantify the potential economic impact of five-yearly screening for sub-syndromal depression in general practice among Australians aged 45-64 years, followed by a group-based psychological intervention to prevent progression to depression. Method: We used an epidemiological simulation model to estimate reductions in prevalence of depression, and a microsimulation model, Health&WealthMOD2030, to estimate the impact on labour force participation, personal income, savings, taxation revenue and welfare expenditure. Results: Group therapy is estimated to prevent around 5,200 prevalent cases of depression (2.2%) and add about 520 people to the labour force. Private incomes are projected to increase by $19 million per year, tax revenues by $2.4 million, and transfer payments are reduced by $2.6 million. Conclusion: Group-based psychological intervention to prevent depression could result in considerable economic benefits in addition to its clinical effects.
- Depressive disorders
- labour force participation