Within a two year period, there has been a significant reduction in the number of suicides. I’m not saying that’s attributed solely to the campaign, but I do believe it has had an impact. Even if it assists one person in seeking treatment early, I think that’s the other important point that Stan made. In terms of our members not only is it their life but it’s their working life which is an important thing. That’s where the cost comes back to the community and society generally.

Greg Bright: Greg Staunton – not being crass about it, but suicides cost a lot of money, particularly when they’re young. Do you get a sense of what a suicide reduction in a fund would actually save?

Greg Staunton: It’s not uncommon that suicides rates sit between 10 per cent and 25 per cent of claims across the funds. 85 to 95 per cent of premiums may go back in claim payments. Obviously if you can reduce 25 per cent down to 10 per cent or 20 per cent or something like that, it’s got to have a material cost saving.

For people to have confidence in [an initiative] it’s going to have to be something that’s demonstrated as ongoing and not just something one off. And that generally takes a while to flow through in claims. Often there’s a lag in claims being notified and with sudden death the lag seems to be much quicker, but it could still take two to three years before you get all the death claims through, just through notification because people don’t always know those benefits are there. And then they find their way through the system eventually.

I can’t put percentages or dollars around it but obviously it would be significant. Cbus and MTAA have done some work in the group training area and both funds have identified initially there does seem to be a reduction in numbers coming through in those claims.

Peter Rowe: It’s not only the focus on suicide, but for us, and I’ve looked at this over the last three years, mental illness is probably number two or number three in most years for the cause of disability. Now it’s not always schizophrenia or bi-polar but to me that’s still a very high number. Our suicide rate is probably a lot lower, but our TPD claims rate is still fairly high.

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