EMPLOYERS are set to play a leading role in the recently-announced Productivity Commission inquiry into the role of improving mental health to support economic participation and enhancing productivity and economic growth.

In the terms of reference released by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on 23 November, the inquiry has been directed to examine the effectiveness of current programs and initiatives of employers to improve mental health, suicide prevention and participation.

Mr Frydenberg said employers, not-for-profit organisations and carers play key roles in the mental health of Australians.

“Many businesses are developing initiatives to support and maintain positive mental health outcomes for their employees as well as helping employees with mental ill-health continue to participate in, or return to, work,” he said.

He called on the inquiry to “make recommendations, as necessary, to improve population mental health, so as to realise economic and social participation and productivity benefits over the long term”.

The inquiry will take submissions and hold public consultations before reporting within 18 months.

The terms of reference of the inquiry will include:

  • Examining the effect of supporting mental health on economic and social participation, productivity and the Australian economy;
  • Examining how sectors beyond health, including education, employment, social services, housing and justice can contribute to improving mental health and economic participation and productivity;
  • Examining the effectiveness of current programs and initiatives across all jurisdictions to improve mental health, suicide prevention and participation, including by governments, employers and professional groups;
  • Assessing whether the current investment in mental health is delivering value for money and the best outcomes for individuals, their families, society and the economy;
  • Drawing on domestic and international policies and experience, where appropriate; and
  • Developing a framework to measure and report the outcomes of mental health policies and investment on participation, productivity and economic growth over the long term.

Any employers who wish to make a submission or provide a brief comment to the enquiry can do so here.

In addition, AMMA is pleased to recommend mental health organisation beyondblue’s Heads Up program to members. Download your copy of Developing a workplace mental health strategy: A how-to guide for organisations, or learn more at headsup.org.au.