Council of Australian Governments research into mental health and employment

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The Department of Employment was allocated $5 Million over four years for research related to employment and mental illness as part of the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) National Action Plan on Mental Health 2006-2011.

The research will inform policy and program decisions that will help people with mental illness to find and retain employment.

Literature review—employment assistance for people with mental illness

DEEWR released a literature review of the latest research on employment assistance for people with mental illness. The literature review, identifies and describes models of employment assistance for people with mental illness and discusses good practice in relation to assisting people with mental illness into employment.

An electronic copy of the literature review is now available:

Evaluation of best practice—Literature review

Use of the Workplace Modifications Scheme to support the employment of people with mental illness

This research report explores options for the use of the Workplace Modifications Scheme to assist the employment of people with mental illness. Suggestions are made on how best to promote the Scheme to employers, job seekers, employees and employment service providers to assist in the employment of people with mental illness.

Since completion of this report the Government has announced details regarding the New Disability Employment Services, commencing 1 March 2010. This includes the creation of a new Employment Assistance Fund that will bring together resources from the Workplace Modifications Scheme and the Auslan for Employment program making it easier for employers, people with disability and employment providers to access assistance.

Workplace Modifications Scheme report

Communication with General Practitioners to support the employment of people with mental illness

General Practitioners (GPs) are often the first point of call for people experiencing mental illness and can play a key role in assisting people with mental illness to remain connected to their families and communities and to remain engaged in employment.

This research report looks at how to improve communication between GPs, Government agencies and employment service providers to help GPs support people with mental illness to remain engaged in employment.

Since the completion of the report, the Government has announced a number of measures to support re-engagement with the workforce as part of the Disability Support Pension-better and fairer assessments 2009-10 Budget measure. The Government will establish new Health Professional Advice Units in Centrelink to give Senior Job Capacity Assessors specialist medical and rehabilitation advice, to complement the claimant’s doctor’s report when completing Job Capacity Assessments.

The Government will also provide new payments for claimants’ treating doctors when they provide additional diagnostic or further information on the claimant (with the claimant’s consent) at the request of the Health Professional Advice Unit.

GPs report

Employer initiatives for the recruitment and retention of people with mental illness

This research report identifies and describes strategies being used by employers in Australia to recruit and retain people with mental illness and to manage the impact of mental illness on their organisation. The report also analyses the potential of these strategies to benefit other employers in Australia.

Employer Initiatives report

Employer attitudes to employing people with mental illness

This research report examines the attitudes of Chief Executive Officers and Human Resource managers to employing people with mental illness and looks at communication approaches designed to promote the recruitment and retention of people with mental illness.

Employer Attitudes report

Promoting best practice use of job in jeopardy assistance and intermittent support

This research report examines the use of the job in jeopardy assistance and intermittent support for people with mental illness. The report makes suggestions about how these supports can be improved and implemented by employment service providers. A series of case studies providing practical examples of how employment service providers can support employees with mental illness were produced as part of this research.

The new Disability Employment Services include new flexible options for ongoing support in the workplace in addition to job in jeopardy assistance.

Job in Jeopardy report

On 14 September 2009, the Government’s National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy was released. The Strategy sets out a number of priority actions to assist Australians with disability, including mental illness, into work. It was developed as part of the Government’s Australian Social Inclusion Agenda which aims to address the barriers faced by people with disability, including mental illness, that make it harder for them to gain and keep work.