We need to invest in the prevention of mental health and substance use difficulties to combat their significant human and economic costs, according to new research.
The research was carried out by the Prevention Hub and the Prevention and Early Intervention in Mental Illness and Substance Use (PREMISE) Centre of Research Excellence through a partnership between the Black Dog Institute, Everymind and the Matilda Centre at the University of Sydney.
For the research, 80 delegates at the Leaders in Prevention Summit were asked what their priorities were for prevention research and its application.
The responses consistently emphasised the importance of collaboration and sustained efforts.
Delegates indicated a collaborative and coordinated effort will be required to achieve the ultimate goal of preventing mental health and substance use difficulties.
They also highlighted the need for a long-term perspective and commitment to ensure the success and sustainability of prevention efforts.
“The recent Australian Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Mental Health found that the social and emotional costs of mental illness and suicide are likely to be as high as $200-220 billion each year,” said Professor Maree Teesson AC, Director at the Matilda Centre.
“Significant investment in a nationally coordinated approach to prevention research is a critical next step in reforming the Australian mental health system.”
Deputy director at the Black Dog Institute Professor Sam Harvey said the sector was urging governments, employers and donors to invest in the prevention of mental health and substance use issues.
“This will not only lead to new discoveries and better program delivery but will also improve lives and reduce future costs,” he said.