Productivity Commission Report - MindSpot Clinic

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Productivity Commission Report recommends increasing investment in digital mental health sector

Friday, 4 December 2020
With a recognition that digital mental health services can provide a convenient, clinically effective and low-cost way for Australians to manage their mental wellbeing, MindSpot this month welcomes the recommendations handed down by the Australian Productivity Commission to invest in and scale up these services.

Culmination of an 18-month review

In October 2018, the Government announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into the role of mental health in supporting economic participation and enhancing the nation’s productivity.

Over 18 months, the inquiry considered how mental illness can affect all aspects of a person’s quality of life including physical health, social participation, education, employment and financial status.

The Final Report, which was handed down by the Prime Minister on 16 November, estimated that mental ill-health and suicide in Australia directly cost the country between $43 and $70 billion in 2018-2019. In addition, the cost of disability and early death is estimated to cost a further $151 billion a year.

Digital Mental Health Services highly regarded

The Productivity Commission acknowledged that online treatment can provide a convenient, clinically effective, low-cost way for Australians to manage their mental wellbeing.

While not being a replacement for existing face-to-face services, the Commission acknowledged the value proposition of the sector included expanded reach, accessibility and improved efficacy of the mental health system as a whole. Financially, digital services are positioned well as they use a smaller amount of clinician time without a reduction in consumer outcomes and safety.

With this in mind, one of their key recommendations outlined to the Australian Government, was to increase funding to expand supported online mental health services. Alongside a scale up of digital services, they further recommended investigating and investing in campaigns to raise the public’s awareness of digital mental health services and commissioning an evaluation of the performance of the sector.

Investing in Mental Health can save Australians and improve livelihoods

MindSpot worked closely with the Commission to share data and insights throughout the process, with MindSpot being mentioned some 90 times in the 1,600 page Report.

MindSpot Executive Director, Professor Nick Titov, praised the work of the Commission.
“The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health, is one of the most comprehensive reviews of the Australian mental health sector to date.

“I strongly support the recommendations, and in particularly note the importance of recognising that there are multiple determinants of mental health.

“The recommendations to scale up and invest in digital services provides an opportunity to realise the value of these service models. Scaling up needs to be done carefully - I fully back the commission’s acknowledgement that attention should be given to quality assurance, workforce development, and integration with primary care.

“Now more than ever, off the back of a challenging year for many Australians with the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, investment into enhancing the mental wellbeing of Australians is critical.”
Learn more about the Productivity Commission Report here