Mental health costs billions, says report
- Punam Vyas
- Thursday, 7 June 2012
Young men who dismiss mental health problems are costing the Australian economy billions of dollars a year, according to a report.
The ‘Counting the Cost’ report published last week by Inspire Foundation and Ernst & Young, focussed solely on the mental health of young men, who are traditionally less likely to seek help and advice over their mental wellbeing.
The report states a combined cost of lost income, lowered productivity and sick days amounts to a yearly government expense of over $3 billion.
CEO of Inspire Foundation, Jonathan Nicholas said: “The study is on men to try and see if there are still barriers stopping them from getting help and to discover what the effects of this could be.
A financial analysis allows us to make a better case for why we need more investment in this area.”
Inspire Foundation is behind the popular help website ReachOut.com, which gives young people a space to get information about mental health and discuss their own experiences.
Professor of Psychiatry, Ian Hickie, said online initiatives and more education in schools are two of the best ways to encourage young men to seek help.
“By changing the way we run services – making them youth-friendly, less like a clinic and more a place where they can just come and talk – we can increase the numbers of men,” he said.
“To reduce financial strains, it is important that we help people at school or work before it affects their income and they lose their jobs.”
Mr Hickie is also the Executive Director of The University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute, the lead agency for Headspace Central Sydney and Campbelltown.
Headspace is a national youth mental health foundation which has secured support from the makers of A Cautionary Tail, the eagerly-awaited animation film featuring Cate Blanchett, David Wenham and Barry Otto.
The film will donate 10 per cent of the proceeds from today’s pop-up auction in Surry Hills to Headspace, an event which will sell off the production’s sets and stills.
Producer Pauline Piper explained the close connection the film has to promoting mental well-being.
“The story writer for the film, Erica Harrison, was a semi-professional runner, but was hit by a car. There were fears she wouldn’t be able to walk again and she was naturally quite depressed. The film is about coming out of the other side and gives a positive message to those dealing with depression,” she said.
“From that, we decided to partner with an organisation to help raise awareness. Headspace does some really fantastic work in the field and the funds will go towards their programmes in resilience where
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