A new report released shows that young men’s mental illness is costing the Australian economy more than $3 billion each year in lost productivity.
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, has launched the landmark report, ‘Counting the Cost: The Impact of Young Men’s Mental Health on the Australian Economy’.
Commissioned by the Inspire Foundation and Ernst & Young, the Report highlights that mental illness in young men costs the economy $387,000 per hour and over 9 million working days lost per annum.
“This is an important new analysis which demonstrates to the broader community the immediate and flow-on costs of mental illness in young men,” Mr Butler said.
“It shows us again the tremendous scope of the mental health challenge that Australia faces, and provides a clarion call for continued action across Australia.
“Two thirds of mental illness emerges before the age of 21. If that illness is left untreated, it can impact on a person’s education, and later in life on their future career prospects and financial security.
“The clear message from Counting the Cost is that we must intervene early and invest smarter to reduce the cost and impacts associated with young men’s mental illness. We stand to gain from both a happier, healthier population and increased productivity.”
The report makes three main recommendations, including:
- improving educational outcomes for young boys and adolescents;
- improving employers’ understanding of mental health and reducing the stigma that some workers with mental health difficulties face in their jobs; and
- improving understanding around Government investments in mental health
“These recommendations affirm the need for some of the key elements of the Gillard Government’s record investment in mental health,” Mr Butler said.
Key measures being rolled out as part of that package include:
- Today, more than 140,000 teachers, principals, secondary school students and their parents have participated in the Mindmatters program. Mindmatters provides schools with the resources they need to encourage classroom and playground conversations about mental health and ensures teachers have the skills to better respond to a child who is experiencing mental health difficulties.
- In addition to school-based programs such as MindMatters, the Government is rolling out more community support for young people with mental health concerns. This year, ten new headspace centres will open their doors to young people across the country. Fifteen more services are in the process of being developed and a further fifteen locations will be announced in July. By the middle of 2015, 90 headspace centres will be open around Australia, helping up to 72,000 young people each year.
- The Government is providing $11 million to beyondblue to expand its National Workplace Program. This program assists employers to identify and support workers with depression, anxiety and other related disorders. Between 1 July 2011 and 30 April 2012, more than 480 workplaces across the country participated in the National Workplace Program.
- The National Mental Health Commission is consulting with carers, consumers and experts to prepare its first National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. This important document will independently report on the performance of the mental health system and continue to monitor it, on an annual basis, into the future.
(Source: Department for Health & Ageing)