The focus of this inquiry is on the link between mental health and economic participation, productivity and growth. The Productivity Commission Issues Paper (Issues Paper) notes that mental health is a key driver of economic participation and productivity in Australia, with the potential to impact incomes and living standards as well as social engagement and connectedness. The reduced economic costs associated with improved mental health are stated and it is recognised that improvements in mental health can benefit both individuals and the wider community. The significant occurrence of mental health issues experienced by Australians are noted and it is recognised that, notwithstanding ‘a plethora of past reviews and inquiries into mental health in Australia’, and related positive service delivery and service reforms, there are significant problems with mental health in Australia.
QAI agrees with this starting point – our experience is that there are significant, unaddressed mental health problems in Australia. We also agree that addressing these problems requires holistic reform encompassing innovations not only within the healthcare system, but also in the areas of work, education, justice, housing and social services.