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Technical report

The economic value of informal mental health caring in Australia

Mental health promotion Caregivers Mental health

In March 2017, Professor Allan Fels, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission officially launched this report on ‘The economic value of informal mental health caring in Australia’.

It was the first time a report of this nature had ever been produced, which shows the economic value of informal care in Australia and validates the importance of carers. There are 240,000 informal mental health carers in Australia – these people are not registered to receive carer benefits.

The report demonstrates it would be a big economic cost to the nation if carers did not provide assistance – it would cost $13.2 billion to replace informal mental health care with formal support in Australia, that’s 1.7 times the current national expenditure on all mental health-related services in Australia. The majority of informal mental health carers are working age females, while a substantial proportion of mental health carers are young people under the age of 25 (14.7 percent).

At the launch, Professor Fels remarked it was commendable that so many young people are carers, because one in four 18-24 year olds experience a mental ill-health problem every year themselves. Mr Fels saluted informal carers (often a family member or friend), for their significant role in the care of people with mental illness in Australia.

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