Mental illness stigma costs jobs – report
A PERVASIVE stigma attached to mental illness is denying Australians job opportunities and adding to the nation’s costs, a parliamentary committee has found.
Labor’s Amanda Rishworth, chair of the education and employment committee, told parliament today (Thursday, June 28) that one in three people had or would have a period of mental ill health in their lifetimes and 30 per cent of people on the disability support pension had a mental illness.
She was tabling the committee’s report into jobs for people with mental illness.
“This is not the first report to note the entrenched stigma surrounding those with mental illness,” Ms Rishworth said.
“Nonetheless, the committee was struck by how pervasive stigma remains.”
The committee’s lead recommendation was for the federal Government to run a national education campaign against discrimination on mental health grounds in schools, workplaces and communities.
Another recommendation is that the government takes a lead role in implementing best practice as an employer that looks after the mental health and wellbeing of its workers.
Liberal Rowan Ramsey, the deputy chair, said the cost of discriminating against people with mental health problems was far higher than the cost of integrating them into the workforce.
Mr Ramsey said employers who gave the mentally ill jobs with the necessary flexibility were often rewarded with great loyalty and reliability.