19 August 2019 – Today the National Mental Health Commission (the Commission) has released economic modelling which shows that investing in mental health prevention initiatives yields positive returns.
Analysis indicates that prevention interventions targeted to workplaces, schools and specific members of the community including new mothers and older persons can bring economic benefit.
National Mental Health Commission Chair, Lucy Brogden said of the research: “This research translated into practical models for implementation by workplaces, schools and the community has the potential to change and save lives.”
“Of the ten models that were looked at, nine have a positive return on investment, meaning the cost savings of the interventions are greater than their estimated cost. More work will be needed to apply this learning to different environments, but it absolutely shows that investing in preventative interventions is worthwhile.
Every year, around 8 million working days are lost due to mental illness. Poor mental health also has economic consequences beyond healthcare, with costs incurred in other systems such as education, justice, housing and aged care.
The NMHC engaged Deakin Health Economics with support from an expert Steering Committee, to explore the return on investment for ten prevention interventions by modelling their cost effectiveness and cost savings to the community. A summary of the research and more detail on the individual interventions is available at: https://mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/our-work/update-economics-of-mental-health-in-australia.aspx
Steering Committee Chair, Mr Timothy Marney, former Mental Health Commissioner and head of Treasury for Western Australia, calls for Government, business and community to look carefully at the results of this project and consider how this convincing evidence that investing in preventative interventions can deliver better mental health outcomes in a cost-effective manner:
“With my economics hat on the return on investment speaks for itself. These interventions are not only doable but potentially scaleable in workplaces, schools and communities across the country. More importantly, for people like me and so many others who have lived or are living with mental illness and distress this presents invaluable opportunities for every Australian to benefit from early intervention, increasing our potential to live contributing, thriving lives.”