Our party sees the minds of Australian people as our number one asset. A mentally healthy society helps people reach their potential, make the most of life, and strive for a better future. Years of neglect to mental health care in Australia are weighing us down.
A sense of scale is needed to understand this issue properly. After cancer and heart disease, mental health represents the third largest cause for years of lost life. Although mental health conditions represent 12% of all years of lost life, we invest just under 8% of the health budget towards addressing these issues. That’s a funding gap of at least $5 billion each year. And the problem is only getting worse. Currently GDP is growing at a rate of 3% and last year our population grew by 1.6%. Across the last decade however, mental health care funding has grown by just 1% each year. With the total health budget growing by 5% on average each year, mental health care is falling way behind.
The recent KPMG report Investing to Save makes a clear economic case for Australia to boost investment in mental health care. The report shows that by investing $4.4 billion across targeted areas, Australia will see returns on investment of up to $12.7 billion. Many of the recommendations in that report will see longer term savings of up to $10 for every dollar invested. These are sizeable returns by comparison to other areas, which typically return less than $1 for every dollar spent.
If elected our party will set realistic targets for improving mental health funding. There’s no better investment for Australia than in the minds of our own people.