Supporting the Mentally Ill
The Social Issue
Patients with mental illness who do not receive adequate community or familial support experience great difficulties and often undergo long-term hospitalization requiring expensive, intensive treatment. In Australia, one in five Australians experience a mental health issue each year, and nearly 30,000 are admitted for hospitalization (2012-2013). The costs of these long-term hospitalizations weigh heavily on families, communities, and the New South Wales healthcare system.
The Economic Impact
Inadequately treated mental illness has detrimental effects on individual, families, and entire communities. In New South Wales, patients experience a healthcare system that results in a series of disconnected treatment services, resulting in cycles of hospitalization, discharge and readmission. These cycles result in a drain on workforce productivity and economic resources. In fact, more than half of the New South Wales budget allocation toward treating mental illness is being spent on long-term hospitalizations (40 – 270 days) of only 2,000 patients.
The Intervention Program
The intervention financed by this SIB, the Resolve Program, will provide patients with constant support and outreach for two years, including a 24/7 support line, staffed by both mental health professionals and survivors of mental illness. This support line allows patients to speak openly with peers, receive professional consult, community support and critical services, such as housing arrangements.
The impact of this SIB will be reflected in reductions to the healthcare consumption of program participants, in comparison with a control group of comparable patients. The program will also track other outcomes, such as general wellbeing, employment and housing status.