Invest now, save later: The economics of promotion, prevention and early intervention in mental health

Commissioned by Mental Health Australia, Urbis’ report Invest now, save later: The economics of promotion, prevention and early intervention in mental health presents a broad based synthesis of current research with economic implications applied to an Australian context. It provides thought provoking reading for policy makers, academics and commissioners of mental health services.

The vision outlined by the World Health Organisation in the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, is a world in which mental health is valued, promoted and protected; mental disorders are prevented; and persons affected by these disorders are able to exercise the full range of human rights. But from a fiscal perspective, meeting the costs of mental illness and other healthcare needs represents a significant policy challenge. Health expenditures already comprise around 9.5% of the national economy and this is expected to rise further over the medium to long term. In addition to these direct costs, a mental illness reduces the likelihood of an individual completing school, securing meaningful employment and achieving a good quality of life.

This report focuses on the economic case for prevention and intervention strategies. As we embark on implementation of new stepped care arrangements in mental health commissioned at regional level, it is timely to reflect on the value that promotion, prevention and early intervention can deliver to complement, and reduce pressure on, the existing mental health system.

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mental health, early intervention, prevention, economics, investment in mental health, mental wealth