Australia’s mental health crisis: philanthropy woes

A report commissioned by Future Generation and Ernst & Young
Findings have been presented after conducting an extensive survey on philanthropists and corporate foundations to understand why they are not doing more to support mental health.

The answer is simple yet astounding: “confusion, duplication and lack of leadership is stopping wealthy philanthropists from donating more money to address the nation’s mental health crisis.”

Despite 85% of private funders who participated in the survey believing that Australia is facing a mental health crisis, a mere 28% reportedly invested in mental health causes. And, though the number of mental health charities have nearly tripled since 2000, with more than 575 mental health-focused charities registered in Australia alone, cancer charities continue to receive $5 for every $1 received by mental health charities.

It’s a wake-up call for private funders and charities alike – for investors, to realise that more investment is desperately needed in mental health, and; for charities, to give investors the confidence in their investment by demonstrating robust evaluation methodologies with well differentiated outputs, impacts and reporting to clearly indicate the social return on investment.

“Private funding sources are critical for taking mental health forward – there are many big gaps: prevention, early intervention, physical health and premature mortality, substance misuse, and suicide prevention,” said Professor Ian Hickie, Co-Director of the Brain and Mind Centre, “We need smart, informed, collaborative funders – which is exactly what Future Generation has done.”

Professor Hickie and the Youth Mental Health & Technology team at the Brain and Mind Centre have been supported by Future Generation to provide highly personalised clinical assessment and online monitoring of treatment to improve the health outcomes of young people with depression across Australia (with a focus on regional, rural and remote areas) through the use of novel health information technologies.

“We are extremely grateful to be partnering with Future Generation who can clearly see the big picture when it comes to investing in mental health,” Professor Hickie said.

“From this continued investment, more than 1,500 individuals, supportive others, health professionals and service providers have benefited through improved access to support, increased individual agency, and strengthened early intervention. Due to the support of Future Generation, this number will only exponentially increase.”

The $950 M Future Generation Group provides investors the confidence to gain unprecedented access to prominent Australian fund managers while supporting Australian charities focused on mental health and youth charities.

For the full report, go to

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We are extremely grateful to be partnering with Future Generation who can clearly see the big picture when it comes to investing in mental health
Professor Ian Hickie