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‘No epidemic’ but mental health DSPs have risen by 50pc

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Author Topic: ‘No epidemic’ but mental health DSPs have risen by 50pc  (Read 10 times)
Romans 8
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« on: June 11, 2017, 06:42:06 pm »

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/no-epidemic-but-mental-health-dsps-have-risen-by-50pc/news-story/07c78b87b71bfcf756986c00aba0654b
‘No epidemic’ but mental health DSPs have risen by 50pc
6/12/17

The number of working-age Aust­ralians receiving the Disability Support Pension for mental health issues increased by about 50 per cent over a 13-year period, even though prevalence of the conditions remained stable.

Researchers led by associate professor Samuel Harvey from the Black Dog Institute and the University of NSW have raised the “paradox” after studying the prevalence and impact of conditions such as depression and ­anxiety between 2001 and 2014.

The unexplained surge in DSP payments for people with mental health issues is likely to reignite the political debate over the ­rigour applied to welfare assessments. It may also inflame tension­s between governments over the cost of support, including through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Reporting their findings today in the Medical Journal of Aus­tralia, the researchers dismissed the “common belief that we are in the midst of a mental health epidemic­” but warned that the impact of psychiatric conditions on work, society and the economy was significant, and still not fully understood.

“Over the same time period, the proportion of the Australian population receiving DSPs for psychiatric conditions increased by 51 per cent, equivalent to one additional DSP for mental ill health for every 182 working-­age Australians,” they wrote.

“While the increase may reflec­t better recognition of and greater willingness to diagnose mental disorders in working Australians, it also means greater emphasi­s on, and more research into, improving occupational outcomes for people with mental ­illness are needed.”

Growth in spending on the DSP has stabilised in recent years but it is still a significant part of the federal budget, forecast to cost about $17 billion in 2017-18.

Mental health experts have repeated­ly called for a greater focus on early intervention and effective treatment.

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