In addition to the health burden caused by mental illnesses, these
conditions contribute to economic disadvantage because of their impact on
labour force participation.
To quantify the cost of lost savings and wealth to Australians aged 45–64
who retire from the labour force early because of depression or other
Cross-sectional analysis of the base population of Health&WealthMOD,
a microsimulation model built on data from the Australian Bureau of
Statistics' Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers and STINMOD, an
income and savings microsimulation model.
People who are not part of the labour force because of depression or
other mental illness have 78% (95% CI 92.2–37.1) and 93% (95% CI
98.4–70.5) less wealth accumulated respectively, compared with people of
the same age, gender and education who are in the labour force with no
chronic health condition. People who are out of the labour force as a
result of depression or other mental illness are also more likely to have
the wealth that they do have in cash assets, rather than higher-growth
assets such as superannuation, home equity and other financial
This lower accumulated wealth is likely to result in lower living
standards for these individuals in the future. This will compound the
impact of their condition on their health and quality of life, and put a
large financial burden on the state as a result of the need to provide
financial assistance for these individuals.