A report released by the mental health advocacy group Inspire Foundation has found that mental illnesses in young men is costing the Australian economy $3 billon each year.


The Counting the Cost: The Impact of Young Men’s Mental Health on the Australian Economy builds on previous research conducted in 2010 and aims to better understand the mental health help-seeking attitudes and patterns in young men.


The report found that mental illnesses in young men aged between 12 and 25 cost the Australian economy $387,000 every hour and results in over nine million working days lost per year. The Federal Government covers 31 per cent on these costs via direct health costs, disability welfare payments, unemployment support and direct costs associated with imprisonment, with the private sector accounting for the rest of the costs.


“For the first time we are starting to understand that there are productivity opportunities and risks associated with the mental health of young men. The failure to act presents a serious threat to Australia’s future productivity and to the individual prosperity of young men affected by poor mental health,” Inspire Foundation CEO Jonathan Nicholas.


“Until such impacts are made clear, the mental health of young men would continue to be seen as primarily a health issue for the attention of the government and community sectors. Helping young men with mental illness with education and training opportunities will assist higher wages and productivity for the economy.”


Federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, said more must be done to ensure the problem does not further escalate.


“Two thirds of mental illness emerges before the age of 21. If that illness is left untreated, it can impact on a person’s education, and later in life on their future career prospects and financial security,” Mr Butler said.


“The clear message from Counting the Cost is that we must intervene early and invest smarter to reduce the cost and impacts associated with young men’s mental illness. We stand to gain from both a happier, healthier population and increased productivity.” 

The report makes three main recommendations, including:

  • improving educational outcomes for young boys and adolescents;
  • improving employers’ understanding of mental health and reducing the stigma that some workers with mental health difficulties face in their jobs; and
  • improving understanding around Government investments in mental health


The full report can be found here