Individual and national financial impacts of informal caring for people with mental illness in Australia, projected to 2030
Background Mental illness has a significant impact not only on patients, but also on their carers' capacity to work. Aims To estimate the costs associated with lost labour force participation due to the provision of informal care for people with mental illness in Australia, such as income loss for carers and lost tax revenue and increased welfare payments for government, from 2015 to 2030. Method The output data of a microsimulation model Care&WorkMOD were analysed to project the financial costs of informal care for people with mental illness, from 2015 to 2030. Care&WorkMOD is a population-representative microsimulation model of the Australian population aged between 15 and 64 years, built using the Australian Bureau of Statistics Surveys of Disability, Ageing and Carers data and the data from other population-representative microsimulation models. Results The total annual national loss of income for all carers due to caring for someone with mental illness was projected to rise from AU$451 million (£219.6 million) in 2015 to AU$645 million (£314 million) in 2030 in real terms. For the government, the total annual lost tax revenue was projected to rise from AU$121 million (£58.9 million) in 2015 to AU$170 million (£82.8 million) in 2030 and welfare payments to increase from AU$170 million (£82.8 million) to AU$220 million (£107 million) in 2030. Conclusions The costs associated with lost labour force participation due to the provision of informal care for people with mental illness are projected to increase for both carers and government, with a widening income gap between informal carers and employed non-carers, putting carers at risk of increased inequality.
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National Health and Medical Research Council