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Prevention the key to positive economic outcomes for workplaces, schools and communities

Everymind welcomes the news today from the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) outlining 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 by Everymind.

Everymind Acting Director Tina Fox said that while it is widely accepted that prevention initiatives benefit the individuals who participate in them, this study of 10 prevention models shows a wider societal value in the forms of increased productivity and lower health care costs.

“The mental health and suicide prevention sector has long believed in the value of prevention programs and intervention informed by research,” Ms. Fox said.

“This analysis highlights the value of these evidence-based programs and we can see a clear economic argument for the value of prevention and early intervention, in addition to what we already know as 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.

Co-led by the Black Dog Institute (BDI) and Everymind, The Prevention Hub focuses 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.

“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 last week’s 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.”

Everymind is committed to a range of work to prevent mental ill-health and support wellbeing, including the following programs that are part of the Prevention Hub:

Family Day Care Educators
This research project seeks to build the capacity and confidence of family day care educators to promote the positive mental health and wellbeing of children, and prevent the development of anxiety and depression.

Carers for people with anxiety and depression
This research project aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing, as well as prevent mental ill-health, of carers of adults experiencing anxiety or depressive symptoms. The project will deliver an online program and tailored resources for carers to prevent depression and anxiety and support mental health, with the aim of addressing a known gap in the current service provision network for carers.

Ahead for Business

Ahead for Business is fully funded by Department of Employment, Skills and Small and Family business. There is a component on The Prevention Hub that seeks to extend on this work. Ahead for Business was developed by Everymind to help small business owners take action on their own mental health and wellbeing. The digital intervention includes a website and app that connect small business owners to information, programs, tips and tools that help them to manage everyday business stressors and mental health challenges.

Published: 19 August 2019

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