Mental illness affects millions of Australians every year, having adverse implications for employment, physical health and other social outcomes.
About 45% of Australians aged 16–85 experience a mental illness over their lifetime.
Poor mental health is an increasingly pressing issue in our society, with $9 billion, or $373 per person, spent on mental health-related services in Australia during 2015–16, a real increase from $354 per person in 2011–12.
The treatment of mental health, from both a clinical and societal perspective, has undergone significant change in the last 50 years. There has been a shift away from institutional-based approaches toward an integrated in-community model which strives for sustained recovery. The shift in service delivery methodology has been concurrent with the shift in societal attitudes towards those suffering from mental illness. The clinical understanding of what constitutes mental health has also been transformed – an individual’s mental health is now assessed on a spectrum of healthiness rather than on a discrete binary scale.
As a social issue with high comorbidity to other adverse outcomes such as addiction, domestic violence and homelessness, the PAYCE Foundation identifies mental health as a key strategic focus.
In acknowledgement of the importance of mental health for a healthy, productive, inclusive and just society, many of PAYCE Foundation’s partnerships, regardless of the specific focus area identified, have the mental health of the services’ recipients as one of the main drivers.
Over the last 12 months, a number of our philanthropic initiatives have specifically focussed on mental health services, including Kookaburra Kids, Lifeline and Black Dog Institute.