HELPING LOCAL LONG TERM UNEMPLOYED WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS
Date: 03 June 2011
More assistance for long term unemployed Australians with a mental illness is one of the centrepieces of the Gillard Government’s 2011-12 Budget.
Minister for Employment Participation and Child Care Kate Ellis and Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler met with Uniting Care Wesley in Adelaide today to discuss how the Government would work with the community to help people who are both long term unemployed and living with a mental illness lead more socially and economically productive lives.
They confirmed for the first time that funding of more than $78 million over five years is available to support some of the most marginalised members of the community to find and retain employment.
There are more than 27,000 South Australians who have been unemployed for more than two years and are currently being assisted to find a job by employment services.
Many very long-term unemployed people face multiple barriers to finding employment and it is estimated that some 9 per cent are living with a mental illness.
Ms Ellis said that as the nation heads towards a projected unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent, South Australia is faced with a unique chance to transform the lives of locally unemployed people who are living with a mental illness.
“The current economic environment, with a low unemployment rate and high demand for workers, provides new opportunities for people who face multiple barriers to employment to find work,” Ms Ellis said.
“While clinical support is important to support recovery from a mental illness, it’s critical that we provide non clinical support that addresses the impact of mental illness on everyday life and the social disadvantage that can result from illness,” Mr Butler said.
As part of the 2011-12 Budget, the Government is investing in a range services to eliminate the barriers to employment faced by the long term employed including:
· $2.4 million over five years to assist employment services providers and Centrelink to better identify and assist people with mental illness to gain employment and better connect them with the appropriate mental health services;
· $26 million in wage subsidies over 4 years to support employers who take on and retain people who have been unemployed for more than two years. This will see some 35,000 very long-term unemployed job seekers, including many who are living with a disability or mental illness, to placed into employment using this subsidy;
· $50 million over five years for extra Personal Helpers and Mentors targeted specifically at people with a mental illness on or claiming income support or the Disability Support Pension, who are also working with employment services; and
· $19.3 million over five years to expand the Day to Day Living Program which will help an extra 18,000 people with a mental illness improve their ability to live independently.
The Budget delivers the largest mental health package in the nation’s history with $2.2 billion in new measures – including more than $1.5 billion in this Budget and over $600 million announced last year.