Productivity Commission releases draft mental health report

Posted 31st October 2019 in Sector update

The Productivity Commission today released its draft mental health report, based on its inquiry into the mental health and wellbeing of Australia’s population.

The inquiry focussed on the prevention and early detection of mental ill-health as well as treatment for people with a diagnosed condition. Findings include that mental ill-health and suicide cost Australia up to $180 billion per year and treatment and services are not meeting community expectations. 

"Mental ill-health has huge impacts on people, communities and our economy but mental health is treated as an add-on to the physical health system. This has to change," Productivity Commission Chair, Michael Brennan said.

Over their lifetime, one in two Australians will be affected by mental ill-health including anxiety and depression and up to one million people don't receive the help they need.

Everymind Project Lead, Simon Pont said the report highlights the need to reduce the stigma and discrimination directed at people with mental ill-health and those who support them.

 “It is imperative that we all work to reduce stigma and raise awareness of help-seeking and help offering in the community. The National Communications Charter is designed to guide the way we talk about mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, mental ill-health and suicide prevention,” said Mr Pont.

The report calls for change not only in the health system but also in schools, workplaces, housing and the justice system.

The Commission’s recommended reforms fall into five broad areas: 

1. Help people maintain their mental health and reduce the need for future clinical services, through early intervention for mental health problems and suicide risks 

2. Improve the consumer and carer experience of the mental healthcare system to ensure that care is timely, is consistent with treatment needs and does not impose undue burden on consumers or carers 

3. Improve the experience of people with mental ill-health and those who care for them beyond the healthcare system, recognising that people enter the mental health system through a number of community gateways and may need to access services beyond healthcare, such as psychosocial services, housing and justice 

4. Improve incentives for people to remain engaged in education and stable employment, and provide support to enable Australians with mental health problems to reach their potential in life, have purpose and meaning, and contribute to the lives of others

5. Reform the behind-the-scenes arrangements and incentives to ensure services for people in need are as seamless and timely as possible.

The Commission's draft report can be found at www.pc.gov.au and submissions for the final report are currently being taken.

Source: based on Productivity Commission data, Draft Report on Mental Health