How Than Shall We Pray

One of my favorite sayings is, “Why worry when you can pray.”  I know that the Bible says, “Don’t worry,” more times than it says, “Don’t steal,” and we all know what stealing is. Prayer is how w...

Dr. Robert Owens - avatar Dr. Robert Owens

We live in a world of upheaval. So why aren't today's protests leading to revolutions?

Today's protests are driven more by anger over social and economic inequity than deep-seated grievances against a regime.Orlando Barria/EPAWe live in a world of violent challenges to the status quo, f...

Peter McPhee, Emeritus professor, University of Melbourne - avatar Peter McPhee, Emeritus professor, University of Melbourne

How Hitler memes made their way around the world and into the Fair Work Commission courtroom

Some argue that a parody of a fictional scene is not the same thing as comparing someone to the real historical figure. IMDBIn September, the Fair Work commission rejected an unfair dismissal claim by...

Benjamin Nickl, Lecturer in International Comparative Literature and Translation Studies, University of Sydney - avatar Benjamin Nickl, Lecturer in International Comparative Literature and Translation Studies, University of Sydney

Extinction of ice age giants likely drove surviving animals apart

Extinction of the woolly mammoth and other megafauna caused surviving animals to go their separate ways.Wikimedia As the world grapples with an extinction crisis, our large mammals are among the most ...

Aniko Blanka Toth, Postdoctoral Fellow, Macquarie University - avatar Aniko Blanka Toth, Postdoctoral Fellow, Macquarie University

Lack of information on apartment defects leaves whole market on shaky footings

The litany of defects, poor building standards and regulatory failures has serious implications for apartment owners, occupiers and buyers alike. Fears of a loss of confidence in the sector have unfor...

Martin Loosemore, Professor of Construction Management, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Martin Loosemore, Professor of Construction Management, University of Technology Sydney

Veterans have poorer mental health than Australians overall. We could be serving them better

A career in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), or the armed forces in any country, can be rewarding, but also demanding. Challenges include the rigorous training, frequent moves, and maintaining soci...

Nicole Sadler, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne - avatar Nicole Sadler, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne

A collapsing star in a distant galaxy fired out some of the most energetic gamma rays ever seen

The HESS telescopes in Namibia are on the alert for high-energy gamma rays.HESS Collaboration / Clementina MedinaThe brightest fireworks in the universe are called gamma-ray bursts and are created by ...

Gavin Rowell, Associate Professor in High Energy Astrophyics, University of Adelaide - avatar Gavin Rowell, Associate Professor in High Energy Astrophyics, University of Adelaide

Buttigieg surges to clear lead in Iowa poll, as Democrats win four of five US state elections

A recent poll has Pete Buttigieg pulling ahead of Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic presidential election.AAP/EPA/Gary HeTwo and a half months before the February 3 Iowa Democratic cau...

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne - avatar Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

It's hard to breathe and you can't think clearly – if you defend your home against a bushfire, be mentally prepared

If you live in a bushfire-prone area, you’ll likely have considered what you will do in the event of a bushfire. The decision, which should be made well in advance of bushfire season, is whether...

Danielle Every, Senior Research Fellow in social vulnerability and disasters, CQUniversity Australia - avatar Danielle Every, Senior Research Fellow in social vulnerability and disasters, CQUniversity Australia

Climate change will make fire storms more likely in southeastern Australia

Temperatures across many regions of Australia are set to exceed 40℃ this week, including heatwaves forecast throughout parts of eastern Australia, raising the spectre of more devastating bushfir...

Giovanni Di Virgilio, Research associate, UNSW - avatar Giovanni Di Virgilio, Research associate, UNSW

To feed the world in 2050 we need to build the plants that evolution didn't

Synthetic biology can help agriculture adapt to a changing world.ShutterstockWe need to revolutionise agriculture in the next 30 years. In 2050 we may have almost 10 billion people to feed. Farmland i...

Claudia Vickers, Director, Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform, CSIRO - avatar Claudia Vickers, Director, Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform, CSIRO

Innovation competitions are the next big thing. Here are 8 ways to make them work

Leonardo da Vinci sketches. He invented the pulley, the parachute and the water-powered mill. None were patented.ShutterstockFor centuries, human beings have relied on patents to encourage and protect...

Olga Kokshagina, Researcher - Innovation & Entrepreneurship, RMIT University - avatar Olga Kokshagina, Researcher - Innovation & Entrepreneurship, RMIT University

Big men do cry: cricketers are leading the charge for inclusive masculinity

Rising Australian cricket star Will Pucovski has recently taken the surprising step of asking notto be considered for selection for the national men’s team ahead of the First Test against Pakist...

Keith Parry, Senior Lecturer in Sport Management, University of Winchester - avatar Keith Parry, Senior Lecturer in Sport Management, University of Winchester

Make the study of economics more sexy : Chris Bowen

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen, who has previously been shadow treasurer and before that treasurer, wants the study of economics made “more sexy” to attract more students, especially women...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Margaret was depressed, jobless, broke and behind on her rent when the single mother of two heard about Vanguard Laundry Services, in Toowoomba, Queensland.

“I was desperate for work, any work,” she recalls. She started working at the laundry the day before she was due to be evicted.

Given her situation, Margaret was lucky to hear about Vanguard. The laundry is a social enterprise established specifically to provide jobs to people with mental illness. The factors Margaret felt had been barriers to jobs at other businesses – such as her age, gender and health – were no impediment to her employment.

Employers generally tend to be far less accepting and understanding. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, 34% of unemployed women and 26% of unemployed men are dealing with mental illness. It makes it harder for them get and hold down a job. Being unemployed also tends to harm mental health, so it’s a Catch-22.

Read more: People with a mental illness discriminated against when looking for work and when employed

The Productivity Commission’s draft report into mental health – which puts the economic cost of mental illness at A$180 billion a year – notes “particularly strong links between employment and mental health” and the importance of increasing job opportunities.

Productivity Commission My research with Vanguard Laundry Services and the people who work there shows just how transformative a job opportunity can be. Since it launched in December 2016, the business has provided jobs to about 78 people with histories of mental illness and long-term unemployment. My research has followed 48 of them. Most report significantly improved mental and physical health since starting work there. There have been concrete social benefits in terms of reduced reliance on public welfare and health services. Most of those employed at Vanguard Laundry Services report significantly improved mental and physical health since starting work there. Author supplied, Author provided (No reuse) Flaws in the system Under the existing federal Disability Employment Services (DES) system, which pays job service providers to assist people with disabilities, less than a third of those with mental-health-related disability actually obtain a job. According to a Senate Committee inquiry, the employment service system creates “perverse financial incentives to churn unemployed workers into easier and more reliable income-producing outcomes, such as employability training, Work for the Dole, and job search programs”. Financial incentives for employers are hardly better. The government will pay a wage subsidy up to $6,500 over six months for hiring someone registered with a job service provider for more than 12 months. These subsidies are open to any employer – including social enterprises like Vanguard Laundry – but this system can also be abused by profit-driven employers to offer only short-term jobs. The Productivity Commission’s draft report makes several recommendations to improve employment outcomes. One is to put more resources into Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services, which include job coaching, assistance dealing with government services, education and on-the-job support. There is evidence IPS is more successful than other employment interventions but, like other intermediary employment service approaches, there’s still the challenge of finding employers who are both willing to give someone a go and have a supportive work culture. Many participants in my research spoke about past employment experiences that included unrealistically high workloads, verbally abusive supervisors and discrimination. Though employment is generally beneficial for mental health, a job with bad working conditions can be worse than unemployment. Creating inclusive employment This is where social enterprises like Vanguard Laundry Services have a role to play. A social enterprise is a business whose core aim is to create public or community benefit. Like many of the 20,000 social enterprises in Australia, Vanguard’s core social purpose is to create meaningful employment opportunities for people experiencing disadvantage. When creating employment is the reason an enterprise exists, working conditions can be more focused on the needs of workers. My research found staff appreciated having flexibility over their hours and tasks, having understanding and supportive supervisors, and being able be open about their mental health issues yet still be accepted. From its launch to the end of June 2018, Vanguard’s social impacts have included: saving A$153,451 in welfare payments by raising the median income of target staff by $152 a week and reducing average Centrelink payments by A$102.25 a week saving A$231,767 in health costs, through employees spending a total of 138 fewer days in hospital. These results highlight the potential benefits for society that the right mix of government policies can offer through supporting social enterprises. Read more: How social enterprises are building a more inclusive Australian economy By responding to some of the challenges within the existing employment system, social enterprises like Vanguard Laundry have the potential to both increase access to work for people with mental illness, and ensure the workplaces people move into are conducive to good mental health. As Margaret’s story illustrates, access to decent work can make a drastic difference to a person experiencing mental illness and struggling to get by. “It’s just totally changed my life,” she says. “To be quite honest, it saved my life.” Margaret’s name and some details have been changed to protect her privacy.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/this-laundry-is-changing-the-vicious-cycle-of-unemployment-and-mental-illness-117965