Mental Health Spending in Australia Revealed
13 October 2011 at 9:40 am
More than $5.8 billion – or close to $270 per person – is spent on mental health services each year in Australia, according to new data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) – the Federal Government’s national agency for health and welfare statistics and information – launched the Mental Health Services in Australia website to make data on mental health services in Australia more accessible.
The Mental Health Services in Australia data reveals:
- Increasing use of all mental health-related services in Australia – including hospitalisation and other residential care, hospital-based outpatient services and community mental health care services, and consultations with both specialists and GPs.
- The three mental health problems managed most frequently by GPs in 2009-10 were Depression, Anxiety and Sleep disturbance.
- 13.3 million mental health-related GP encounters – showing GP’s are the first port of call for many Australians seeking help for a mental illness in 2009-10.
- 5.1 million MBS-subsidised mental health-related services provided by psychiatrists, psychologists and other allied mental health professionals to over 836,000 patients in 2009-10
- 29 million prescription for mental health related medication were dispensed – Antidepressant medication accounted for nearly 60% of all mental-health related prescriptions, followed by antianxiety medications (14%) and antipsychotics (12%) in 2009-10
- About 336,000 people in Australia also accessed community mental health care services in 2008–09. With each person likely to use these services more than once, there were over 6 million contacts involving clients and community mental health care practitioners.
- In 2008, 15,000 mental health nurses were employed in Australia, representing 6% of all nurses.
AIHW Director David Kalisch says the website provides a comprehensive picture of the national response to the mental health care needs of Australians.
The website was launched as part of Mental Health Week by Mental Health and Ageing Minister Mark Butler.
Mr Butler says he congratulates the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on this terrific effort in making data about the national response to the mental health care needs of Australians more transparent and easy to access.
To view the website, visit http://mhsa.aihw.gov.au.