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Over $6.3 billion, or $287 per Australian, was spent on mental health-related services in 2009-10, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report, Mental health services—in brief 2012, summarises new information on the AIHW's interactive Mental Health Services in Australia website including mental health-related expenditure, facilities, hospitalisations and prescriptions.

The updated information and report have been released to coincide with today's World Mental Health Day.

'Spending on mental health-related services increased by an average of 4.5% per year per Australian between 2005-06 and 2009-10,' said AIHW spokesperson Alison Verhoeven.

'This spending is funded by a combination of state and territory governments, the Australian Government and private health insurance.'

The new report shows that about 1.7 million Australians (8% of the population) received public or private mental health services in 2009-10, generally receiving multiple services.

Mental health-related services are provided through hospitals and other residential care, hospital-based outpatient services, community mental health care services and consultations with specialists and General Practitioners (GPs).

There were about 13.9 million mental health-related GP visits in 2010-11.

'Depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance are the three mental health-related problems most frequently managed by GPs,' Ms Verhoeven said.

Over 6 million community mental health care contacts took place with 339,000 Australians.

About 31.1 million prescriptions for mental health-related medications were dispensed in 2010-11, three-quarters of which were subsidised by the Australian Government.

Almost two-thirds of mental health-related prescriptions were for antidepressant medications.

There were 8,399 specialised mental health hospital beds available nationally during 2009-10, over three-quarters of these being in public hospitals, and the remainder in private hospitals.

For the first time, information has been presented on the Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) program which assists people whose lives are severely affected by their experience of mental illness. It shows about 12,400 people participated in the PHaMs program in 2010-11-up 26% from 2009-10.

The Mental Health Services in Australia website provides a comprehensive picture of the national response to the mental health care needs of Australians and can be accessed at www.mhsa.aihw.gov.au.   

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 9 October 2012

Further information: Alison Verhoeven, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1089, mob. 0403 282 501

Full report: Mental health services—in brief 2012