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The economic value of unpaid mental health carers in Australia

 

Economic value of informal mental health caring in Australia - report cover image"It has long been recognised that informal carers constitute a significant ‘hidden’ workforce in Australia. Without carers and the support they provide, our health system would be on its knees. Faced as Australia is with an ageing population and burgeoning chronic disease, data on the contribution that carers make and the consequent savings to governments and other ‘payers’ need to be articulated, and more support needs to be given to this important group in the community. Carers are part of the health care workforce and should be recognised as such." Peter Brooks AM, Honorary Professorial Fellow, Centre for Health Policy, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne 

In 2017, Mind Australia commissioned The University of Queensland's School of Public Health to assess the value of the care delivered by Australian mental health carers each year, in terms of the estimated cost to ‘replace’ this care. 

The study found: 

  • The majority (54%) of Australia’s mental health carers are female, with 73% aged 25–64 years and 15% of young carers aged below 25 years. 
  • Mental health carers provide 208 million hours of informal care per year, equivalent to 173,000 FTE formal support workers. 
  • The estimated average replacement cost for a primary mental health carer is $129,000 per carer per year. 
  • The total annual replacement cost for all informal mental health carers in 2015 is $14.3 billion ($13.2 billion after adjusting for cost offsets of $1.1 billion). 

You can view the full report here. You can also view the summary report here