Men­tal health

TagLast edit: 19 Jun 2021 11:19 UTC by EA Wiki assistant

Mental health issues cause an enormous amount of suffering on a global scale, and could be just as promising a target for charitable intervention as many other EA cause areas.

This tag is mostly meant for discussion of mental health as a cause area. For discussion of mental health within the EA community, we suggest using tags like effective altruism lifestyle or self-care.

Further detail

Mental health problems are conditions such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. It’s unclear precisely what percent of the DALY burden worldwide they represent. While some reserach has indicated they make up about 7% of the worldwide DALY burden, other researchers have suggested that the 7% figure may underestimate the true burden of mental health in a variety of ways, and that the true figure may be nearly double that.

Mental health problems are typically neglected, particularly in the developing world, and there are very few charities working in the area. Giving What We Can conducted an evaluation of Basic Needs, a charity that implements community-based mental health projects, concluding that it was promising but not as cost-effective as GiveWell ’s recommended charities (Snowden & Sietzy 2016).

Some people care about making everyone happier and more satisfied with their life, over and above treating medical disorders. A few members of the effective altruism community have argued that interventions aimed at increasing happiness may be more cost-effective than global poverty interventions (Plant 2016).


Plant, Michael (2016) Is effective altruism overlooking human happiness and mental health? I argue it is, Effective Altruism Forum, June 22.

Snowden, James & Konstantin Sietzy (2016) Mental health, Giving What We Can, February 8.

Vigo, Daniel, Graham Thornicroft & Rifat Atun (2016) Estimating the true global burden of mental illness, The Lancet Psychiatry, vol. 3, pp. 171–178.

Related entries

pain and suffering

Prob­lem area re­port: men­tal health

CaitlinWalker20 May 2021 11:20 UTC
67 points
9 comments3 min readEA link

Founders Pledge Re­port: Psychedelic-As­sisted Men­tal Health Treatments

AidanGoth30 Sep 2020 13:28 UTC
58 points
18 comments4 min readEA link

AMA: Tim Fer­riss, Michael Pol­lan, and Dr. Matthew W. John­son on psychedelics re­search and philanthropy

Aaron Gertler13 May 2021 17:48 UTC
135 points
184 comments3 min readEA link

HLI’s Men­tal Health Pro­gramme Eval­u­a­tion Pro­ject—Up­date on the First Round of Evaluation

Jasper Synowski10 Jun 2020 16:45 UTC
60 points
9 comments7 min readEA link

Cash prizes for the best ar­gu­ments against psychedelics be­ing an EA cause area

Milan_Griffes10 May 2019 18:13 UTC
48 points
124 comments13 min readEA link

Treat­ing Cluster Headaches Us­ing N,N-DMT and Other Tryptamines

qfrerichs6 Aug 2019 5:02 UTC
25 points
0 comments10 min readEA link

Us­ing Ibo­gaine to Create Friendlier Opioids

qfrerichs6 Aug 2019 21:31 UTC
23 points
2 comments4 min readEA link

Cause pro­file: men­tal health

MichaelPlant31 Dec 2018 12:09 UTC
117 points
32 commentsEA link

An­nounc­ing the launch of the Hap­pier Lives Institute

MichaelPlant19 Jun 2019 15:40 UTC
124 points
44 comments4 min readEA link

EA read­ing list: global de­vel­op­ment and men­tal health

richard_ngo3 Aug 2020 11:53 UTC
15 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Jasper Synowski and Clare Don­ald­son: Iden­ti­fy­ing the most cost-effec­tive pro­grammes to im­prove men­tal health

EA Global21 Aug 2020 21:36 UTC
14 points
0 comments17 min readEA link

Five New EA Char­i­ties with High Po­ten­tial for Impact

Joey14 Oct 2020 12:15 UTC
132 points
15 comments6 min readEA link

The effect of cash trans­fers on sub­jec­tive well-be­ing and men­tal health

JoelMcGuire20 Nov 2020 18:12 UTC
71 points
9 comments6 min readEA link

Prob­lem Pro­file of Men­tal Health in the Philippines

rikaela8 Feb 2021 4:29 UTC
11 points
0 comments2 min readEA link

Michael Plant: What are the best ways to im­prove world hap­piness?

EA Global3 Nov 2017 7:43 UTC
8 points
1 comment1 min readEA link

Up­date from the Hap­pier Lives Institute

ClareDonaldson30 Apr 2020 15:04 UTC
82 points
5 comments7 min readEA link

Re­sources On Men­tal Health And Find­ing A Therapist

lynettebye22 Feb 2021 3:31 UTC
72 points
9 comments5 min readEA link

Why Char­ity En­trepreneur­ship is Re­search­ing Men­tal Health and Hap­piness

GeorgeBridgwater17 Feb 2020 8:51 UTC
31 points
0 comments4 min readEA link

2020 Top Char­ity Ideas—Char­ity Entrepreneurship

KarolinaSarek18 Aug 2020 14:37 UTC
85 points
6 comments15 min readEA link

Health and hap­piness re­search top­ics—Part 1: Back­ground on QALYs and DALYs

Derek9 Dec 2020 0:38 UTC
108 points
6 comments76 min readEA link

Health and hap­piness re­search top­ics—Part 2: The HALY+: Im­prov­ing prefer­ence-based health metrics

Derek3 Jan 2021 15:08 UTC
48 points
3 comments81 min readEA link

Men­tal Health Shal­low Review

Elizabeth20 Nov 2017 18:34 UTC
38 points
30 commentsEA link

[Question] Shifts in sub­jec­tive well-be­ing scales?

Milan_Griffes18 Aug 2020 18:27 UTC
31 points
7 comments1 min readEA link

Psychedelics Normalization

andzuck26 Apr 2019 2:50 UTC
50 points
26 comments1 min readEA link

[Question] Why isn’t GV psychedelics grant­mak­ing housed un­der Open Phil?

Milan_Griffes5 May 2019 17:10 UTC
17 points
17 comments1 min readEA link

[Link] Philan­thropy, psychedelics and effec­tive altruism

andzuck22 May 2019 5:54 UTC
11 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

De­brief: “cash prizes for the best ar­gu­ments against psychedelics”

Milan_Griffes14 Jul 2019 17:04 UTC
47 points
20 comments3 min readEA link

[Question] Pros/​cons of fund­ing more re­search on whether psychedelics in­crease al­tru­ism?

nonzerosum21 Jun 2019 23:07 UTC
10 points
2 comments1 min readEA link

[Link] How to con­tribute to the psychedelics ecosystem

John_Maxwell28 Sep 2019 1:55 UTC
10 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

OPIS ini­ti­a­tive on ac­cess to psilo­cy­bin for cluster headaches

jonleighton10 Sep 2020 8:22 UTC
57 points
5 comments3 min readEA link

TIO: A men­tal health chatbot

Sanjay12 Oct 2020 20:52 UTC
24 points
6 comments28 min readEA link

[Feed­back Re­quest] Prob­lem Pro­file of Men­tal Health in the Philippines

rikaela20 Dec 2020 8:04 UTC
33 points
3 comments1 min readEA link

Do­ing Good Badly? - Michael Plant’s the­sis, Chap­ters 5,6 on Cause Pri­ori­ti­za­tion

EdoArad4 Mar 2021 16:57 UTC
65 points
16 comments7 min readEA link

Leah Utya­sheva: Prevent­ing deaths from pes­ti­cide self-poisoning

EA Global3 Nov 2017 7:43 UTC
8 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Altru­ism Coach

raypsyd2 Oct 2019 21:12 UTC
61 points
2 comments1 min readEA link

In­som­nia with an EA lens: Big­ger than malaria?

samstowers3 Mar 2020 23:05 UTC
66 points
16 comments4 min readEA link

Char­ity En­trepreneur­ship’s 2020 re­search plans

KarolinaSarek3 Apr 2020 3:33 UTC
55 points
3 comments7 min readEA link

Health and hap­piness re­search top­ics—Part 3: The sHALY: Devel­op­ing sub­jec­tive wellbe­ing-based health metrics

Derek30 Dec 2020 15:27 UTC
36 points
4 comments42 min readEA link

Is effec­tive al­tru­ism over­look­ing hu­man hap­piness and men­tal health? I ar­gue it is.

MichaelPlant22 Jun 2016 15:29 UTC
28 points
56 commentsEA link

On Sleep Pro­cras­ti­na­tion: Go­ing To Bed At A Rea­son­able Hour

iamef16 Apr 2021 23:31 UTC
34 points
6 comments9 min readEA link

High Time For Drug Policy Re­form. Part 2/​4: Six Ways It Could Do Good And An­ti­ci­pat­ing The Objections

MichaelPlant10 Aug 2017 19:34 UTC
14 points
15 commentsEA link

Com­par­ing Four Cause Areas for Found­ing New Charities

Joey24 Jan 2020 12:58 UTC
39 points
3 comments5 min readEA link

Cost Effec­tive­ness of Mind­ful­ness Based Stress Reduction

Elizabeth30 Nov 2017 19:04 UTC
12 points
8 commentsEA link

[Question] What’s the most effec­tive or­gani­sa­tion that deals with men­tal health as an is­sue?

richo19 Aug 2019 18:59 UTC
12 points
3 comments1 min readEA link

Mind Ease: a promis­ing new men­tal health intervention

PeterBrietbart23 Oct 2018 17:34 UTC
14 points
8 commentsEA link

[Question] Are there groups of med­i­cal symp­toms that could be im­pact­ful to be turned into a spe­cific di­ag­no­sis? I learned that PTSD was cre­ated as a re­sult of lob­by­ing, pre­vi­ously it was just dis­parate symp­toms.

nonzerosum16 May 2019 1:07 UTC
9 points
2 comments1 min readEA link

A bunch of rea­sons why you might have low en­ergy (or other vague health prob­lems) and what to do about it

alexlintz8 Jun 2021 18:58 UTC
78 points
13 comments16 min readEA link
No comments.