Australia can’t afford to underfund mental health

mental health
mental health

When we talk about the life-threatening scenarios, we look for the best expertise to design and construct the same. There is no tolerance for error in this case where life is concerned.

With aeroplanes and tall buildings or life-threatening cancers, we insist on highly standardized techniques, based on the best possible evidence. We also constantly strive to innovate and improve through research.

We do not think the same about mental illness. It has a major cause of premature death among youngsters up to the age of 40 and across the lifespan the largest contributor to disability and productivity loss.

The commission conservatively estimated the direct annual cost to the economy to be $43bn to $51bn, with the total impact from all sources is $180bn, and recognized the two key reasons for this disproportionate impact.

Mental illnesses emerge in young people and derails and disable across many decades. Second, there is a serious underspend on access to quality mental healthcare that few Australians can dependably access in a timely way.

If this were to occur, headspace and early neurosis care would be cleared away and replaced by fragmented, ineffective and evidence-free methods. Fidelity to early intervention models is essential for better clinical and financial outcomes and productivity and should be embedded in the service specifications for commissioning of all programs.