Draft report

The Productivity Commission invites examination of this draft inquiry report and comment on it by written submission or comment, preferably in electronic format, by 23 January 2020 and/or by attending a public hearing.

The final report will be prepared after further submissions and comments have been received and public hearings have been held and will be forward to the Australian Government by end May 2020.

Key points:

Australia's mental health: a generational shift is needed

  • In any year, approximately one in five Australians experiences mental ill-health. While most people manage their health themselves, many who do seek treatment are not receiving the level of care necessary. As a result, too many people suffer additional preventable physical and mental distress, relationship breakdown, stigma, and loss of life satisfaction and opportunities.
  • The treatment of mental illness has been tacked on to a health system that has been largely designed around the characteristics of physical illness. But in contrast to many physical health conditions
  • The cost to the Australian economy of mental ill-health and suicide is, conservatively, in the order of $43 to $51 billion per year. Additional to this is an approximately $130 billion cost associated with diminished health and reduced life expectancy for those living with mental ill-health.

A path for maintainable long term reform

Changes recommended are substantial but they would set Australia on a path for maintainable long term reform of its mental health system. Priority reforms are identified and a staged reform agenda is proposed.

  • Reform area 1: prevention and early intervention for mental illness and suicide attempts
  • Reform area 2: close critical gaps in healthcare services
  • Reform area 3: investment in services beyond health
  • Reform area 4: assistance for people with mental illness to get into work and enable early treatment of work-related mental illness
  • Reform area 5: fundamental reform to care coordination, governance and funding arrangements



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