Dynamic modelling in this report, by researchers from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre, reveals key findings that show what strategies are required to help prevent suicide in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacts on mental health.
The results are from the first prototypic national policy model that simulated a range of strategies to determine the most effective methods to bend the mental health curve.
They include persisting with JobKeeper to reduce financial uncertainty, providing further education support for young people, and reducing social dislocation.
- Persisting with JobKeeper for as long as the economic and health uncertainty persists, suggesting the most important thing governments can do for mental health now is slow the rate of job loss and provide some certainty to try to alleviate the devastating impacts of chronic stress from prolonged financial uncertainty.
- Ramping up education support for young people, as entry into education and training is the best substitute for the loss of jobs and career development in the face of COVID-19.
- Reducing social dislocation through minimising community spread of the virus leading to repeated lockdowns. The sooner the nation can get back to near zero community transmission, the sooner people can connect again at work and in their normal families and social lives.
- National Budget Provisions in October 2020, to markedly increase real health service capacity, especially for those with more complex disorders, to be in place by early 2021. There is an urgent need for a strong emphasis on post-suicide attempt assertive aftercare and IT-based service co-ordination.