AIHW updates mental health services data

On 17 July, the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW) updated its 2016/17 mental health services data. Updated sections include: mental health workforce, psychiatric disability support services, specialist homelessness services and the overview of mental health services. 

  • The $2.4 billion of recurrent expenditure for public sector specialised mental health hospital services during 2015–16 equates to an average cost per patient day of $1,074. The Northern Territory ($2,082) had the highest average cost per patient day, while the average cost in Victoria ($913) was the lowest.
  • Per person expenditure on specialised mental health services ranged from $197 per person in Victoria to $299 per person in Western Australia, compared to the national average of $227 per person during 2015–16.
  • In 2016–17, there were 365.2 clients per 100,000 population nationally with a current mental health issue. Tasmania had the highest rate of clients (635.5) with a current mental health issue, followed by Victoria (540.6) and Northern Territory (525.6).
  • Of the 170 specialised mental health service organisations reported nationally in 2015–16, 79 (46.5%) employed mental health consumer workers and 42 (24.7%) employed mental health carer workers. South Australia had the highest proportion of mental health organisations employing consumer workers (68.2%), while Victoria had the highest proportion of organisations employing carer workers (51.7%).
  • Victoria had the highest number of 24-hour staffed public sector beds per 100,000 population (41.2) in 2015–16, followed closely by South Australia (39.4), while the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest (30.5), compared with a national average of 36.7
  • Nationally there were 133.3 FTE staff per 100,000 population employed in specialised mental health care services in 2015–16. Western Australia (152.8) had the highest number of FTE staff per 100,000 population, while Victoria (118.2) had the lowest.
  • Nationally, there were 264.8 service users per 100,000 population with a primary psychiatric disability. Victoria had the highest rate (360.8) followed by South Australia (288.2) and Queensland (282.3).
  • There were 276,954 public hospital ED presentations with a mental health-related principal diagnosis recorded in 2016–17, representing 3.6% of all ED presentations. South Australia had the highest mental health-related proportion of ED presentations (4.8%) and Victoria the lowest (3.1%)
  • Nationally, the rate of mental health-related ED presentations was 113.6 per 10,000 population. The Northern Territory had the highest rate (266.9) and Victoria the lowest (86.7). These differences are likely to be due to varying population characteristics, health-care systems and service delivery practices between states and territories.
  • In 2016–17, 2.4 million Australians (9.8% of the population) received Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific services. Victoria (10.7% of the Victorian population) had the highest proportion of the population receiving services and the Northern Territory had the lowest (4.7% of the Northern Territory population)
  • There were about 3.2 million Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific GP services provided to over 1.8 million patients in 2015–16. Almost all of these services (3,162,000 or 97.5%) were GP Mental Health Treatment Plan items. Victoria had the highest patient rate (86.0 per 1,000 population) and service rate (156.1 per 1,000 population) while the Northern Territory had the lowest patient rate (39.4 per 1,000 population) and service rate (61.3 per 1,000 population).
  • Victoria (5,206 patients) had the most number of patients receiving same day admitted private mental health care in 2015–16. The rates of patients per 10,000 population ranged from 6.4 in the combined New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory to 8.7 in Victoria.
  • There were 17,104 clinically substantive episodes of care provided in 2015–16, ranging from 3,562 in Queensland to 5,009 in Victoria. The rate of episodes per 10,000 population ranged from 5.8 in the combined New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory to 8.4 in Victoria.
  • The rate of overnight mental health-related separations in public psychiatric hospitals was highest for Tasmania (19.3 per 10,000 population) and lowest for Victoria (0.7). Among the jurisdictions for which private hospital figures are published, the rate of overnight mental health-related separations in private hospitals was highest for Victoria (20.3 per 10,000 population) and lowest for South Australia (7.9).
  • In 2016–17, there were 413.9 users of psychiatric disability support services per 100,000 population nationally. South Australia had the highest rate (537.5) of service users followed by Victoria (500.8) and Queensland (444.6). With the transition of clients into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Australian Capital Territory did not collect data under the National Disability Agreement during 2016–17.
  • The largest number of ATAPS sessions took place in New South Wales (118,184), followed by Queensland (79,349) and Victoria (69,123). The lowest number of sessions occurred in the Australian Capital Territory (1,969)
  • Psychiatrists reported working an average of 39.0 total hours and 32.2 clinical hours per week in 2016. Average working hours ranged from 37.6 hours per week for Victorian psychiatrists to 41.5 for Queensland psychiatrists. Average weekly clinical hours ranged from 31.1 for Victorian psychiatrists to 34.9 hours for Queensland psychiatrists.
  • Registered psychologists reported working an average of 32.4 total hours per week in 2015, with an average of 23.5 clinical hours. Average total hours ranged from 31.6 hours per week for psychologists working in Victoria to 37.1 in the Northern Territory. The average clinical hours ranged from 22.6 hours for Victorian psychologists, to 25.4 hours for Northern Territory psychologists. Male psychologists worked on average more total and clinical hours than female psychologists (males 36.2 total and 25.2 clinical hours; females 31.4 total and 23.1 clinical hours).