Psychotherapy could be 32 times more cost effective at making you happy than simply obtaining more money, according to a new study.
The research has obvious implications for large compensation awards in law courts but also has wider implications for general public health.
Chris Boyce and Alex Wood of the Universities of Warwick and Manchester, respectively, compared large data sets where thousands of people had reported on their well-being.
They then looked at how well-being changed due to therapy compared to getting sudden increases in income, such as through lottery wins or pay rises.
They found that a four-month course of psychological therapy had a large effect on well-being. They then showed that the increase in well-being from an 800 pound course of therapy was so large that it would take a pay rise of over 25,000 pound to achieve an equivalent increase in well-being.
The research therefore demonstrates that psychological therapy could be 32 times more cost effective at making you happy than simply obtaining more money.
The research suggests that more money only leads to tiny increases in happiness and is an inefficient way to increase the happiness of a population.
This research suggests that if policy makers were concerned about improving well-being they would be better off increasing the access and availability of mental health care as opposed to increasing economic growth.
Researchers further draw on two striking pieces of independent evidence to illustrate their point - over the last 50 years developed countries have not seen any increases to national happiness in spite of huge economic gains.
Mental health on the other hand appears to be deteriorating worldwide. The researchers argue that resources should be directed towards the things that have the best chance of improving the health and happiness of our nations, said a Warwick release.
“We have shown that psychological therapy could be much more cost effective than financial compensation (in courts) at alleviating psychological distress, said Boyce.