A Nous Group report on Australia's mental health system, co-authored with Medibank Health Solutions, has just been released. The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, The Hon. Mark Butler, launched the report with support from Professor Allan Fels AO, Chair of the Australian Mental Health Commission, and Mr Jeff Kennett, Chairman of beyondblue.
The Case for Mental Health Reform in Australia: a Review of Expenditure and System Design, estimates that the true cost to support individuals with mental illness in Australia is at least $28.6 billion. This figure far exceeds previous estimates. It is based on the first ever comprehensive calculation of both health and non-health expenditure. The figure excludes indirect costs like lost productivity. The report also clearly documents the fragmented and uncoordinated nature of the overall mental health system, and reviews domestic and international examples in which integrated approaches to mental healthcare and social services deliver better health outcomes and improved cost effectiveness.