Australia launches inquiry into mental health's impact on productivity

By Will Ziebell MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia has commissioned an inquiry into the impact mental illness has on economic productivity, the government said on Sunday. The 18-month inquiry by the country's Productivity Commission will provide recommendations on how to improve the social and economic participation of Australians struggling with their mental health. A total of A$9 billion ($6.4 billion) in government money is spent each year on mental health funding, equivalent to A$1 million per hour. “It is crucial that we know that this funding is delivering the best possible outcomes for individuals and their families, and that is one of the issues the inquiry will investigate,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement. Mental health research organisation the Black Dog Institute has estimated mental illness costs the Australian economy more than A$12 billion a year in lost productivity. ($1 = 1.4180 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Will Ziebell; Editing by Stephen Coates)