Over $7.2 billion spent on mental health in 2011–12

Spending on mental health in Australia continues to rise, according to new information released today on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's (AIHW) Mental Health Services in Australia website.

Today's release shows that over $7.2 billion - or $322 per person - was spent on mental health-related services in 2011-12, up from $282 per person in 2007-08.

'Of the $7.2 billion spent nationally, about 61% came from state and territory governments, 35% from the Australian Government and 4% from private health insurance funds,' said AIHW spokesperson Dr Pamela Kinnear.

Funding from state and territory governments for mental health-related services increased by around 5% a year between 2007-08 and 2011-12, while funding from the Australian Government increased by an average annual rate of about 6%.

'Of the $4.5 billion spent on state and territory specialised mental health services, most was on public hospital services for admitted patients ($1.9 billion), followed by community mental health care services ($1.8 billion),' Dr Kinnear said.

The Australian Government paid $851 million in benefits for mental health related services in 2011-12, equating to almost 5% of all Medicare subsidies. Spending on psychologist services ($351 million) made up the majority of mental health related Medicare subsidies in 2011-12.

Almost 9% of subsidised prescriptions in 2011-12 were mental health-related, and totalled $854 million, or $38 per person.

In addition to expenditure information, today's release contains updates to the following sections of the Mental Health Services in Australia website (http://mhsa.aihw.gov.au):

  • Admitted patient care
  • Specialised mental health care facilities
  • Psychiatric disability support services
  • Mental health policy
  • Summary tables

The website also provides information on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Australian public mental health services. In this release, a new interactive format is used to provide data for 13 out of the 15 KPIs. Indicators will be updated as new data become available.

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, 15 May 2014

Further information: Dr Pamela Kinnear, AIHW, tel. 02 6249 5096  mob. 0421 600 377