“We know that the growing burden of mental ill-health in our country cannot be stemmed by focusing on treatment alone."
Recent research from the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) outlined clear links between investment in mental health prevention initiatives and positive economic benefit for workplaces, schools and communities.
Economic modelling and analysis from the NMHC indicates there is significant economic benefit to the translation of research into practical, evidence-based programs like those being developed and implemented through The Prevention Hub, which is co-led by the Black Dog Institute (BDI) and Everymind.
While it is widely accepted that prevention initiatives benefit the individuals who participate in them, this study of 10 models shows a wider societal value of prevention in the forms of increased productivity and lower health care costs.
The analysis highlights the value of evidence-based programs and makes a clear economic argument for the value of prevention and early intervention, in addition to what has already been known to be a clear social value.
The Prevention Hub, launched in May 2018, is Australia’s first integrated research translation initiative for programs to prevent anxiety and depression. Its focus is on implementing and evaluating preventive strategies in a wide range of settings – including workplaces, schools and childcare, and the healthcare sector.
For interventions to be most valuable, they need to also be scalable to be used in workplaces, schools and communities across Australia, said Dr Gavin Hazel, Everymind Program Manager, Mental Health and Research, and a researcher on several Prevention Hub projects.
“We know that the growing burden of mental ill-health in our country cannot be stemmed by focusing on treatment alone,” said Dr Hazel.
“Targeted interventions are clearly successful in the prevention of anxiety and depression, particularly when delivered in a wide range of settings throughout the lifespan, with support made available to people when and where they need it.”
Together, through the work of The Prevention Hub, Everymind and BDI are developing research which targets workplaces as a setting to reduce mental ill-health; strengthening prevention for youth, children and families; and preventing depression and anxiety in medical and healthcare settings.
“We know that half of all mental illnesses begin in children by the age of 14,” Dr Hazel said.
“Coupled with the recent announcement by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on the Long Term National Health Plan, which includes a significant focus on prevention in the 0-12 age group, the NMHC’s analysis shows the importance of placing prevention on the national agenda.”
For more information about The Prevention Hub and its key programs, visit www.preventhub.org.au.