Catholic Health Australia has commended the Productivity Commission’s mental health report, saying its recommendations could provide far greater support for vulnerable people.
The Productivity Commission examined the effect of mental health on economic participation and productivity in the year 2018, ABC News reports. It found the financial cost of mental illness and suicide was $220 billion a year.
CHA says the report identifies a myriad of challenges that need to be overcome – including gaps in service provision and wasteful overlaps.
It is calling on the Morrison Government to begin implementing the report’s recommendations, including permanently subsidising telehealth services which have proved crucial during the COVID-19 epidemic, and a greater focus on prevention and early intervention.
CHA chief Pat Garcia said: “At some point during their life half of all Australians will experience mental health issues. However at a time of crisis many people are being let down by the system, left bewildered and unable to access treatment they desperately need.
“Not only is this having a huge impact on their own mental health, collectively the financial cost to the country is an astonishing $220 billion a year.
“This report is confronting reading but it lays out a pathway that could transform the way we deliver mental health services, both in the short and long term.”
Mental health was the centrepiece of this year’s statement by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Office for Social Justice, which encouraged faith communities, governments and individuals to make mental health a priority, a goal fully endorsed by CHA.
Catholic Health Australia welcomes Productivity Commission report on mental health (Catholic Health Australia)