New data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that Australians spent an estimated A$8 billion on mental health related services in 2013-14.
The direct financial impact on Australian business is in the vicinity of $11 billion every year, largely due to absenteeism ($4.7 billion) and reduced productivity ($6.1 billion) from unwell workers still attempting to work.
At the launch of the government’s response to the National Mental Health Commission in November last year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “Mental illness gnaws away at participation, it gnaws away at productivity.”
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Federal and State Government spending on mental health services has steadily increased over time although what’s not known is how much employees are spending out of their own pockets.
In recent years, the big implications mental ill-health has on economic productivity and production have become clearer.
Of the 3.7 million Australians who have mental health problems in any year, some three million have a mild to moderate condition. Many of these are in paid work but they are not there as often as they should be, or contributing as much as they would like when they are there.