The Myer Foundation has funded the development of Australia’s first national strategic plan for psychosis research, the Australian Psychosis Research Network where Vaughan Carr and another scientist, Stan Katz, work together to co-ordinate scientists across Australia in all the different disciplines that are required to make a serious effort. The network is looking for funding of $64 million over five years from the Federal Government.

Colin Tate: “Julie-Ann, can you talk about what your unit [within Comminsure] is doing? It’s probably only applicable to people who are in the workforce. And there seems to be a large segment of the schizophrenia community who aren’t in the workforce.”

Julie-Ann MacCormick: “We do see less schizophrenia than other mental illnesses because they are not getting to working age and getting mature and moving forward. But we certainly see a lot of people with bipolar and a lot of depression and anxiety. And what we’ve been working on recently at CommInsure is trying to assist people as soon as they notify us that they are unwell whereas in the past because of the nature of the insurance contract, they’d have a waiting period which could be up to several months. So we wouldn’t even have information on this individual until way down the track…

“With the wholesale products there is that additional barrier of it having to go from the individual notifying the employer, notifying the fund, and then notifying us. So it’s several steps. It’s almost impossible to intervene at an early time…

“If we can start to act as soon as we are made aware of a claim, regardless whether we’ve admitted the claim or the waiting period has been waited out or whatever, if we can start as soon as we know, then everybody’s in a better position…. We have a lot of self-employed people with our income protection insurance, with our individual policies, and their businesses are failing while they’re waiting to receive income protection and appropriate care. So we really try to work with the individuals as soon as we can find out and gather as much information as we can, up front. So we’re sending out a rehab consultant at that first opportunity so we can work out whether they are getting any treatment, getting the details of that so we can then take it to our consultant psychiatrist and get some advice.

Greg Bright: “Do you have any figures? Are you able to quantify the success rate?

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