The mental health and wellbeing of Queenslanders should be a more important measure of our State’s success than wealth, says Queensland’s Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic.
Speaking on the eve of Queensland Mental Health Week (6–14 October), Mr Frkovic said while most Queenslanders have good mental health most of the time, approximately one million would experience a mental health problem or illness this year.
Mr Frkovic said it was estimated mental illness costs Australia $70 billion each year, equivalent to $2800 for every man, woman and child.
“The economic impact of poor mental health is huge, but the human cost is considerably more,” he said.
“Our mental health is as important as our physical health, yet we seem to take it less seriously.
“The irony is that good mental health and wellbeing actually results in improved social, educational and economic outcomes.
“Positive mental health not only creates resilience, which is a buffer against life’s stresses, it creates better general health outcomes, quicker recovery from illness, better relationships, higher rates of workforce participation, greater creativity and productivity.”
Mr Frkovic said that strengthening individual and collective mental health and wellbeing was not the responsibility of government and the mental health sector alone.
“I’d particularly like to see more workplaces implement mental health and wellbeing strategies, because they will reap the rewards through employee engagement and productivity.
“Research shows every dollar invested in strengthening mental health and wellbeing in the workplace will return $2.30, so it also makes good business sense.”
He also challenged Queenslanders to learn how to sustain their mental health and wellbeing during Queensland Mental Health Week.
“Research confirms six practices that are key to a mentally healthier and more fulfilling life,” he said.
“These are keeping regularly active, learning new skills to engage and challenge our minds, connecting with others and building strong, healthy relationships, being generous to others, noticing and enjoying the world around us, and caring for our environment,” he said.
Events are planned across the state for Queensland Mental Health Week. For more details visit www.qldmentalhealthweek.org.au