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Mental Health and Work: Australia

image of Mental Health and Work: Australia

Tackling mental ill-health of the working-age population is a key issue for labour market and social policies in OECD countries. OECD governments increasingly recognise that policy has a major role to play in keeping people with mental ill-health in employment or bringing those outside of the labour market back to it, and in preventing mental illness. This report on Australia is the ninth and last in a series of reports looking at how the broader education, health, social and labour market policy challenges identified in Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work (OECD, 2012) are being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It concludes that policy thinking in Australia shows well-advanced awareness both of the costs of mental illness for society as a whole and of the health benefits of employment. However, challenges remain in: making employment issues a concern of the health care services; helping young people succees in their future working lives; making the workplace a safe, supportive psychosocial environment; and better designing and targeting employment services for jobseekers with mental ill-health.

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Foreword

The mental health of the working-age population is becoming a key issue in labour market and social policies in many OECD countries. It has been neglected for too long despite the high – and growing – cost of poor mental health to people and society at large. Now, however, OECD governments increasingly recognise that policy has a major role to play in improving the employment opportunities for people with mental ill-health – particularly among the young. Policies should also seek to support employees who struggle in their jobs and help them avoid long-term sickness and disability caused by mental disorders.

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