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Meeting round-up: Fifth Essen Economics of Mental Health Workshop

The 2022 edition of the Essen Economics of Mental Health Workshop ran from the 18th to the 20th of July. Finally, after two years of pandemics and virtual workshops, the format moved back to Essen.

Again, the workshop addressed mental health topics over the life course. As an event of the CINCH (Health Economics Research Center), the RWI (Leibniz Institute for Economic Research), and the LSCR (Leibniz Science Campus Ruhr), the workshop was organized by Christoph Kronenberg. The Royal Statistical Society, the Royal Economic Society, and the Förderverein of the University of Duisburg-Essen kindly provided financial support that made this workshop possible.

The richness of the workshop stems from the format and the audience discussion. The workshop involved 15 participants presenting and discussing 11 papers and two keynotes framing the whole workshop. Indeed, the presentations were not given by a paper author but by a discussant. Therefore, each slot was organized in the following way: (i) a discussant presents and discusses the paper, (ii) if necessary, the author can clarify or emphasize some specific points of the paper, and (iii) the discussion is open for the plenum.

The 11 papers covered different channels inducing mental health effects in students, women and retirees, and COVID-19 times. Judith Vornberger, for example, was one of four presenters on the second day and introduced Vahid Moghani and co-authors’ work titled Mental Health Literacy, Beliefs and Demand for Mental Health Support among University Students. Roger Prudon presented Franziska Valder‘s paper Two Sides of the Same Pill? Fertility Control and Mental Health Effects of the Contraceptive Pill.

The keynote presentations were provided by Janet Currie from Princeton University and Meltem Daysal from the University of Copenhagen.

Janet Currie started her keynote on Tuesday, presenting the long-term effects of mental health problems which often originate in prenatal conditions and childhood, and affect individuals throughout life. She also suggested that improved screening techniques and more generous insurance coverage could explain the rise in the prevalence of child mental health problems.

Meltem Daysal’s keynote was on child mental health and drug prescription. She gave insights into the beneficial effect of early diagnoses on children’s mental health, the economic payoffs of treating mental illness in children, and the potential benefit of drug prescription for depression in educational achievement. 

Christoph Kronenberg moderated and stimulated the workshop’s debate, providing all participants with suggestions and ideas.

The participants’ discussions were flourishing, and they made the 2022 Essen Economics of Mental Health Workshop an enhancing experience of topics in mental health. Everyone got new and inspiring input on the economics of mental health in general, as well as the cutting-edge state of the art in this research field.

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  • Elena Bassoli is a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Paris School of Economics. She has worked on health, ageing and gender economics. Her research interests focus on the effect of health over the life course and on health inequalities using longitudinal data.

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