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Inspire Foundation: Counting the Cost - The Impact of Young Men’s Mental Health

This report analyses the resultant cost and impact on the Australian economy, highlighting the threat to productivity from poor mental health among young men.

Inspire Foundation

 

 
The community must support the engagement of young men to achieve higher levels of education...
 

This report was commissioned by the Inspire Foundation and undertaken by Ernst and Young. It set out to quantify the likely cost of young men's (aged 12-25) mental illness on the Australian economy, thereby providing a detailed account of the impact on business and society of mental illness.

The report put the cost of mental illness in men in this age group at $387,000 every hour ($3.27 billion per annum). A third of this cost is borne directly by the Federal Government but the remaining two-thirds are drawn out of taxpayer funds, by employers, by individuals and by the community as a whole.

The report recommends the following actions:

 

Recommendation 1: Efforts should be made by all sectors of the community to support the engagement of young men to achieve higher levels of education.

  • Improve secondary, tertiary and vocational educators’ levels of understanding of mental health, including the identification of disorders and awareness of support and referral services available. This should include professional development and tools for teachers and other educators
  • Increase awareness and access for young men to educational alternatives such as apprenticeships
  • Strengthen cross sector partnerships between employers and education providers to create stronger pathways from school to work for young men with mental illness. This should include focus on key transition points such as moving from school to further studies or employment

Recommendation 2: Efforts should be made by all sectors of the community to support young men with mental illness to engage in more productive employment.

  • Improve employers’ level of understanding of mental health, including the identification of disorders and awareness of support and referral services available
  • Initiate new partnership models between government, mental health service providers, NGOs, employers and business groups to create strategies that proactively support employees’ good mental health and ongoing engagement in the workforce
  • Identify new partnership models between employers, business groups, government and NGOs to drive a whole of community response. This includes creating new collaborative funding and service delivery models

Recommendation 3: Efforts should be made by all sectors of the community to evaluate the effectiveness of current policy responses and investments in mental health.

  • Undertake further targeted research to evaluate the efficacy of existing mental health programs and interventions with a particular emphasis on prevention and early intervention
  • Undertake return on investment analysis to inform future investment in young men’s mental health with a particular emphasis on prevention and early intervention
  • Enhance reporting of government funded initiatives targeted at supporting young men with mental illness to achieve full benefits of investment. Key objectives of these enhancements are to drive greater accountability of public spend and to provide better transparency and access to program performance and evaluation

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The Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre received funding from the Australian Government.

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