Recognising the Value of Australia’s Unpaid Mental Health Carers

QCMHR researcher, Sandra Diminic, has been leading a program of research on unpaid mental health carers in Australia, sparking a nationwide campaign by Mind Australia; Caring Fairly.

The two reports that prompted the launch of this campaign, titled Understanding factors associated with Australian mental health carers’ employment (2018) and The economic value of informal mental health caring in Australia (2017) explore the situation of one of Australia’s most significant ‘hidden workforces’.

The 2017 report revealed the enormous economic value of unpaid carers to the Australian community. In 2015 there were approximately 2.7 million informal health carers, of which an estimated 10% were mental health carers. The total annual replacement cost for the unpaid support provided by mental health carers alone would have been $13.2 billion. The second report, published earlier this year, highlighted the significant disadvantages they face in accessing formal employment. It was found that 42% of adult mental health carers are not in the workforce compared to only 24% of adults without caring responsibilities, despite many wanting to work.  Young mental health carers were also disadvantaged, with fewer engaged in study or work compared to other young people.

In result of these findings, Mind Australia’s coalition campaign; Caring Fairly is advocating for fairer government policies to improve the situations of health carers, as they take on a vital and indispensable role in the Australian community.

 

 

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