In order to achieve this goal, the team undertakes research focusing on the practical application of economic methodologies to the mental health context. This includes, but is not limited to, practical and applied economic evaluations of various mental health focused interventions as well as tailored methodological research ensuring that economic methodologies are appropriate and robust for use within the mental health context.
Trial-based economic evaluations
We specialise in partnering with our collaborators to ensure that all the trials we are involved with have robust, practical and state of the art economic evaluation techniques embedded within the trial protocols. Our evaluations range from preventative to treatment interventions across all areas of mental health (ranging from mental health promotion to serious mental illness), spanning all life stages (children, youth, adults and elderly populations) and across multiple settings (such as clinical settings, schools and the broader community).
Priority setting studies and modelled economic evaluations
We specialise in using economic modelling techniques to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of single interventions or multiple interventions within the one study context. Modelled economic evaluations can overcome the limitation of trial-based economic evaluations (such as a short time horizon) or can be undertaken when a trial-based economic evaluation is not feasible. Depending on the context of the research questions and purpose, we adopt different methodological frameworks, such as more traditional cost-utility analyses where outcomes are expressed in generic units such as quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) to return on investment studies. We also specialise in large-scale priority setting studies where multiple interventions are compared within the same study context – we often used our well known “Assessing Cost-Effectiveness” or ACE approach for such large scale priority setting studies.
Methodological challenges research
We undertake a program of research which is dedicated to ensuring that the methods and techniques we use in economics are appropriate and fit for purpose in the mental health context. Such research is predominantly focused on how to measure outcomes for economic evaluation. For example, we recently completed a study where the main instruments used by health economists to measure health-related quality of life in order to determine quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were evaluated in children and adolescents with mental health problems to ensure they were fit for purpose. We have undertaken similar studies in other mental health areas including adults with depression. This program of research is essential in ensuring that mental health care is not disadvantaged because of limitations in the methods used to assess outcomes in economic evaluations.
Burden of disease studies
We undertake a broad range of research whereby we evaluate both the costs and disease burden (for example quality of life losses) across a broad range of disorders or risk factors (such as bullying) and populations. We use nationally representative databases to undertake this research (such as community-based surveys of mental health) as well as smaller, more bespoke datasets which include information on people who may not feature in such larger datasets.
Brief examples of our more recent work spanning these areas of research include:
Trial-based economic evaluations:
Chatterton ML, Bayer J, Engel L, Rapee R, Beatson R, Hiscock H, Bretherton L, Wake M, Mihalopoulos C. Cost-effectiveness of preventing child internalising problems: Results from the translational trial of Cool Little Kids at school entry. Journal of Anxiety Disorders
Le, LK-D., Sanci, L., Chatterton, ML., Kauer, S., Buhagiar, K., Mihalopoulos, C. (2019) The Cost-Effectiveness of an Internet Intervention to Facilitate Mental Health Help-Seeking by Young Adults: A Randomised controlled trial. Journal of Internet Medical Research, 21(7):e13065 DOI: 10.2196/13065
Modelled/priority setting studies:
We recently evaluated 10 mental health promotion/prevention interventions for the National Mental Health Commission.
Engel, L., Chan, G., Richardson, J., Mihalopoulos, C. (2018) The impact of depression on health-related quality of life and wellbeing: Identifying important dimensions and assessing their inclusion in multi-attribute utility instruments. Quality of Life Research, 27(11):2873-2884. doi:10.1007/s11136-018-1936-y
Burden of disease studies/reviews:
Le, LK-D., Mihalopoulos, C., Engel, L., Touyz, S., González-Chica DA, Stocks N, Hay P. (2019) Burden and Health State Utility Values of Eating Disorders: results from a population-based survey. Psychological Medicine. Published online 31 Oct 2019.
Mihalopoulos, C., Le, LK-D., Chatterton, ML., Bucholc, J., Holt-Lunstad, J., Lim, MH., Engel, L. The economic costs of loneliness: a review of cost-of-illness and economic evaluation studies. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Published online 22 May 2019.
Economics of mental health research stream staff
Staff of the Economics of mental health research stream include:
Deakin Health Economics Director
Professor Cathy Mihalopoulos
Senior Research Fellow
Dr Mary Lou Chatterton
Click on each staff member’s name for a full list of outputs related to this stream.