Skip to content
Economics

Covid’s Mental Health Crisis Has Economic Consequences

Fear of illness, strict lockdowns, isolation and unemployment weighs on the hearts and minds of people all across the globe. 

California To Extend Stay-At-Home Orders As Hospitals Hit Breaking Point
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Subscribe to Stephanomics on Apple Podcasts
Subscribe to Stephanomics on Spotify

Covid-19 isn’t just a deadly threat to human life; it’s also a mental health catastrophe with economic consequences. Fear of illness, strict lockdowns, isolation from friends and family, rising unemployment and collapsing businesses weighs on the hearts and minds of people all across the globe. 

But poor mental health isn’t just a symptom of economic malaise: It can also be a cause. Bloomberg economics reporter William Horobin reports from Paris about what the psychological effects of the pandemic could mean for our longer-term prosperity, and what can be done to help. Host Stephanie Flanders also speaks with Baron Richard Layard, an expert in the economics of happiness at the London School of Economics. He talks about why the coronavirus should make us rethink how we treat mental illness, how “building back better” should mean services rather than roads and railways, and why money really doesn’t make us happy. Really.

— With assistance by Jeff Black