Investing to Save - KPMG and Mental Health Australia report - May 2018

Investing to Save: The economic benefits for Australia of investment in mental health reform

At Mental Health Australia our vision is for mentally healthy people, and mentally healthy communities.

Investing to Save presents a major contribution towards that vision. It shows how we can, with the right targeted investments, improve the mental health of our community, and in turn the mental wealth of the nation.

There have been many reviews, inquires and other various investigations into Australia’s mental health system. But this is a report unlike any other.

Investing to Save: The economic benefits for Australia of investment in mental health reform, tackles a set of complex issues from a new perspective, and a new pragmatic approach to the scale of the task of reforming our mental health system.

As with any area of policy, in mental health we must decide where our priorities lie and direct our resources accordingly. But the simple question of ‘where is money best spent in mental health?’ is not so simple to answer. Investing to Save takes into account a range of complex issues, and presents actionable, scalable and context-specific solutions – solutions that not only provide demonstrable health and social benefits, but quantifiable economic returns to taxpayers and to the community.  Investing to Save is a foundation for further action on mental health, beyond the measures that governments have prioritised for themselves.

Investing to Save provides tangible options to deliver additional economic and productivity gains for business and for the broader community. To start realising those returns, and start improving the mental health of our community, I hope that governments can join us on the long journey of reform, looking beyond budget and election cycles, by adopting measures which create the environment in which such returns on investment are truly possible. Investing to Save is a new beginning, not the end of mental health reform.

Investing to Save is not the whole story on mental health. Every day many thousands of professionals help many thousands of consumers and carers live contributing lives in the community and in a range of service settings, and that work must continue. But every day, many people also miss out on the services they need, or our ailing systems fail in crucial ways.

This report makes a vital contribution to remedying some of those failures with a very specific to-do list which makes economic sense. A list backed by evidence and sound economic modeling. A list for governments to act on now, using the governance framework and priorities that all governments have agreed in the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

The team at KPMG has produced a report we can all learn a great deal from. We thank them for their passion, their acumen and their professionalism to improve the mental health of the nation.

Jennifer Westacott
Chair, Mental Health Australia


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