The Economic Cost of Young Men’s Mental Illness - Report
30 May 2012 at 1:10 pm
Young men’s mental illness in Australia is costing the economy more than $3 billion each year in lost productivity, according to a report from the Inspire Foundation and Ernst & Young.
MP Mark Butler at the report launch in Canberra. Photo: Department of Health
The report highlights that mental illness in young men costs the Australian economy $387,000 per hour and over nine million working days lost per annum – figures that Inspire Foundation says cannot be ignored by the business sector.
The CEO of the Inspire Foundation, Jonathan Nicholas said it is well recorded that young men have higher rates of completed suicide, antisocial behaviour and drug and alcohol problems than young women.
He said that there is a need to understand and explain the economic impacts of young men’s mental health to the business community.
“For the first time we are starting to understand that there are productivity opportunities and risks
associated with the mental health of young men. The failure to act presents a serious threat to Australia’s future productivity and to the individual prosperity of young men affected by poor mental health,” Nicholas said.
“Until such impacts are made clear, the mental health of young men would continue to be seen as primarily a health issue for the attention of the government and community sectors. Helping young men with mental illness with education and training opportunities will assist higher wages and productivity for the economy.”
The Report reveals that the Federal Government bears 31 per cent of this cost via direct health costs, disability welfare payments, unemployment benefits and the direct costs of imprisonment, but the remainder is carried by companies, organisations and individuals.
In Canberra, the Federal Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler launched the report called ‘Counting the Cost: The Impact of Young Men’s Mental Health on the Australian Economy’.
“The clear message from Counting the Cost is that we must intervene early and invest smarter to reduce the cost and impacts associated with young men’s mental illness. We stand to gain from both a happier, healthier population and increased productivity,” Butler said.
The report makes three main recommendations, including:
- improving educational outcomes for young boys and adolescents;
- improving employers’ understanding of mental health and reducing the stigma that some workers with mental health difficulties face in their jobs; and
- improving understanding around Government investments in mental health