Intensive assessment for 'intensive assistance': Unemployment, mental health and the need for holistic assessment of long-term unemployed people
Croft, TD, Intensive assessment for 'intensive assistance': Unemployment, mental health and the need for holistic assessment of long-term unemployed people, Australian Journal of Social Issues, 37, (2) pp. 153-172. ISSN 0157-6321 (2002) [Refereed Article]
This article will comment on recently announced changes to the Intensive Assistance (IA) program and to the Community Support Program (CSP) as they relate to the assessment of mental health and similar issues in recipients of unemployment benefits. It will be argued that proposed resources to be spent on assessment of IA clients and increased funding and numbers for the CSP are much needed alterations and should be welcomed. It will be argued that agencies assisting IA clients risk significant underestimation of mental-health and related issues in their clients if they rely only on Centrelink's Job Seeker Classification Instrument (JSCI) as a screening tool and do not expend resources on additional professional assessment. The reasons behind failure of such issues to be easily identified in the current system include difficulty in administration of the JSCI, fear of disclosure by the client, client ignorance of their condition and its relevance to work-ability, the lack of mental-health expertise in private sector employment agencies and the current high cost of purchasing professional assessment. Recently announced changes to IA and the CSP appear to allow for considerable improvements in identifying and managing these issues.