Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced a Productivity Commission Inquiry into the role of mental health in the Australian economy and the best ways to support and improve national mental wellbeing.
About half of all Australians will experience a mental health disorder during their lifetime, but the economic impact has not been quantified.
The Inquiry aims to reveal the impact of mental illness on the economy, and provide recommendations on how the Government can most effectively improve population mental health and social and economic participation.
Mr Hunt said mental health was a pillar of the Government’s health plan.
“Every year around four million Australians deal with some form of chronic or episodic mental health condition. Sadly, one in five Australians affected by mental illness do not seek help because of stigma,” Minister Hunt said.
“I have consulted with state and territory health and mental health ministers to seek their views on the scope and terms of reference of the inquiry and have welcomed their support.
“As we enter Mental Health Week it is important that we continue to shine a light on mental health and work hard to ensure we are providing the best possible support to Australians living with mental illness.”
Australian Private Hospitals Association Psychiatric Committee Chair Christine Gee welcomed the commission’s inquiry.
“Australia’s private psychiatric hospitals care for about 40,000 Australians every year. We care for those with major affective and other mood disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, psychotic disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, eating disorders and personality disorders; serious conditions that impact significant numbers in our communities.
“We know that public hospitals are stretched to breaking point trying to meet the needs of people in crisis. This is often where private hospitals step in for people who are acutely unwell and in need of specialist psychiatric care in a safe, recovery-oriented environment.
“Private psychiatric hospitals will look forward to working with the Commission as they undertake their inquiry,” she said.
The Productivity Commission Inquiry is due to begin by the end of October and will run for 18 months.