Publicly funded cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for mental disorders is scarce in Canada, despite proven efficacy and guidelines recommending its use. This paper reviews published data on the economic impact of CBT to inform recommendations for current Canadian mental health care funding policy.
We searched the literature for economic analyses of CBT in the treatment of mental disorders.
We identified 22 health economic studies involving CBT for mood, anxiety, psychotic, and somatoform disorders. Across health care settings and patient populations, CBT alone or in combination with pharmacotherapy represented acceptable value for health dollars spent, with CBT costs offset by reduced health care use.
International evidence suggests CBT is cost-effective. Greater access to CBT would likely improve outcomes and result in cost savings. Future research is warranted to evaluate the economic impact of CBT in Canada.