Mental health problems largely originate during youth and affect one out of five individuals worldwide. The corresponding individual disease burden lead to significant societal costs, as youth mental health problems have a long-lasting impact over the life-cycle. Through an economic lens youth mental health can be seen as a pivotal element of human capital, associated with educational progress and labour market participation, required to produce economic value. Despite the relevance of youth mental health from both a health and economic perspective, there is still an imperative need for research to reduce the burden of mental health for future generations. In this thesis we have focused on one piece of the puzzle, i.e. the lack of data-driven evaluation strategies to identify (cost-)effective youth mental health interventions. One of the challenges is the fact that in many cases, experiments (i.e., randomized controlled trials) remain difficult or impossible to implement, for financial, political, or ethical reasons, or because the population of interest is too small. Therefore, I demonstrate in this thesis that observational data could be used to provide crucial insights for clinical and policy decision-making in order to make more optimal budget allocations. We were able to identify the role of policies in youth mental health trajectories (chapter 2), the effect of mental health interventions on societal outcomes (chapter 3), the relationship between monitoring compliance to compulsory education and student’s test scores (chapter 4), and the long-run return to government expenditures in special education (chapter 5).
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Place of Publication||[Groningen]|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|