Every day, we encounter people who are struggling with their Mental Health. Mental Illness in Australia has substantial economic and social effects and one of the most significant risk factors is unemployment. People who are unemployed are more likely to experience anxiety, depression and are at increased risk of suicide.

Mental illness also makes it harder for job seekers to secure a job. This often leaves some people who have a mental illness in a catch 22 scenario where difficulties in job seeking exacerbate mental health issues and this, in turn, might make it difficult to apply for jobs.

While the overall unemployment rate has been dropping, long-term unemployment is on the rise and is now at historic highs. These high rates of long-term unemployment are becoming entrenched. 44% of people on unemployment benefits had been on payments for more than 2 years and 15% for more than 5 years continuously.

Added to this, the gig economy, casualised workforce and job insecurity have increased stress for many people who aren’t getting enough hours to support themselves or their families. For job seekers in rural areas, this problem is exacerbated by the effect drought is having on mental health in those communities.

Mental illness is the leading cause of non-fatal disability in our country, which means that many Australians will face significant barriers to employment due to their mental illness.

At PeoplePlus, we are committed to providing employment and training services that support those most at risk by helping clients build resilience, access support services, and connect with the right jobs, education, and training to get their life on track.

We are innovators in developing employment and training programs that use positive psychology and behavioural science-based frameworks that help our clients become mentally healthier and more resilient. Our evidence-based programs like GRIT, Get That Job, and Employability Skills Training is tailored to the particular cohorts we work with – young people, people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and many more.

We also know that mental health is just as important when you first start a job. Our Post Placement Support teams check in with our clients and participants to ensure they have the support to succeed in their new job, which can be a very stressful time.

Our Allied Health team work one-on-one with our job seekers to provide counselling support. Each interaction our case managers, mentors, jobs coaches, and trainers have with our clients is an opportunity to offer support and refer them to support services.

We understand that addressing long-term unemployment and disadvantage is about more than getting jobs – it’s about ensuring that our clients have access to support and training to better lives for themselves in the long term.

World Mental Health Day is a reminder to us that mental health is a crucial part of that goal.

Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14 or online at lifeline.org.au

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