Does State Spending on Mental Health Lower Suicide Rates?
Justin M. Ross
Indiana University - School of Public & Environmental Affairs
Pavel A. Yakovlev
affiliation not provided to SSRN
October 5, 2010
Journal of Socio-Economics, Forthcoming
Indiana University School of Public & Environmental Affairs Research Paper No. 2011-10-01
Using recently released data on public mental health expenditures by U.S. states from 1997 to 2005, this study is the first to examine the effect of state mental health spending on suicide rates. We find the effect of per capita public mental health expenditures on the suicide rate to be qualitatively small and lacking statistical significance. This finding holds across different estimation techniques, gender, and age groups. The estimates suggest that policies aimed at income growth, divorce prevention or support, and assistance to low income individuals could be more effective at suicide prevention than state mental health expenditures.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: Suicide mortality, Mental health, Public spending
JEL Classification: I12, I18, I31
Date posted: October 6, 2010 ; Last revised: August 6, 2011