Mental health spending rises to $6.9 billion in 2010-11

Spending on mental health services in Australia is rising, according to new figures released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The latest figures, released on the AIHW's Mental Health Services in Australia website, show that after allowing for inflation, spending on mental health-related services increased to almost $6.9 billion in 2010-11, an increase of about $450 million from 2009-10.

'This equates to about $309 spent per Australian on mental health related services in 2010-11, an increase from $248 per Australian in 2006-07,' said AIHW spokesperson Dr Pamela Kinnear.

Over $4.2 billion was spent on state and territory specialised mental health services in
2010-11, and of this a large proportion ($1.8 billion) was spent on specialised mental health services delivered in public hospitals for admitted patients.

The average cost for specialised mental health services delivered in public hospitals was $842 per patient-day.

'The figures released today also show that the Australian Government's spending on mental health related services is rising,' Dr Kinnear said.

'This includes $852 million paid in Medicare benefits for mental-health-related services, equating to about 5% of total Medicare expenditure. Almost 9% of all prescription subsidies in 2010-11 were mental health-related, totalling $834 million, or $38 per Australian.'

Today's release also presents the latest figures on the 1,450 specialised mental health care facilities providing care in 2010-11.  Around 10,800 specialised mental health beds were available nationally during 2010-11, with around two-thirds (6,755 beds) provided by public hospitals.

For the first time, historical data from the National Mental Health Report series have been provided on the Mental Health Services in Australia website.  Almost 20 years of historical data are available for facility and expenditure measures.  

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.

Note: Today's release contains updates to the following sections of the Mental Health Services in Australia website (http://mhsa.aihw.gov.au):

  • Facilities
  • Expenditure
  • Summary tables

Canberra, 27 March 2013

Further information: Dr Pamela Kinnear AIHW, tel. (02) 6249 5096, mob. 0407 915 851

For media copies of the report: 02 6249 5048/02 6249 5033 or email [email protected]