It’s important for Australian employers to take the mental health of their workers seriously. The Productivity Commission’s 2020 Inquiry Report into Mental Health in Australia found that, ‘In 2018-19, the annual cost to the Australian economy of mental ill-health and suicide was estimated to be $70 billion. The cost of disability and premature death due to mental illness, suicide and self-inflicted injury was equivalent to a further $151 billion, per annum’.
According to the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a person’s employment and income are intrinsic factors that directly affect their mental health. Gaining employment correlates with increases in global functioning, a reduction in mental illness symptoms, improved social functioning, and a self-reported increase in both self-esteem and overall quality of life. Clearly employment is beneficial. However, helping people who suffer long term mental health problems regain employment is no easy task. It’s this critical gap that Allianz aims to address with the introduction of the Individual Support Placement (IPS) program.
Adopted from a model currently used in Scotland, IPS has initially been launched as a pilot program by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited (Allianz). IPS uses a proven methodology to reduce the long-term unemployment of workers with primary and secondary psychological injuries. Vocation deficits and cognitive impairments are addressed and supported within employment and support is ongoing once a worker has obtained new employment.
In practice, the Allianz Case Manager and a dedicated Rehabilitation Consultant will work collaboratively with the participant to understand their future workforce direction and what support they require. Working as a close-knit and coordinated team, IPS employs the following 7-step approach: