Consumer perspectives of mental health care

Key points

  • 29,019 consumer-rated experience of service surveys were collected during 2020–21 in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.­
  • An experience of service score is calculated for each survey using the consumer’s responses to 22 survey questions. Using this calculation, a positive experience of service was reported during 2020–21 by:
    • 71% of respondents in New South Wales, 53% in Victoria and 51% in Queensland in admitted care; and  
    • 81% of respondents in New South Wales, 75% in Victoria and 82% in Queensland in ambulatory (non-admitted) care.
  • In admitted and ambulatory care, a higher proportion of respondents with Voluntary mental health legal status reported a positive experience of service than respondents with Involuntary legal status.

Spotlight data: Do consumers report having a positive experience of Australian mental health care?

Infographic containing a map of Australia highlighting New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria who contributed Your Experience of Service (YES) survey data for 2020–21 and doughnut charts showing the proportion of survey respondents with a positive experience of service in admitted and ambulatory care for each state. There were 29,019 surveys across 87 mental health service organisations. At least 50.7% of consumers in admitted care reported a positive experience of service. At least 74.6% of consumers in ambulatory care reported a positive experience. Refer to Table CP.5.

Notes:
1. An individual consumer may have completed the Your Experience of Service (YES) survey more than once in the reporting period.
2. The experience of service score is the average of survey questions 1–22 multiplied by 20. A score of 80 and above (out of 100) indicates a positive experience.
3. In NSW, consumers are offered the YES survey throughout the year, while in Vic and Qld, consumers are offered the YES over a particular time of year. Comparisons between jurisdictions should be made with caution.
Source: Your Experience of Service Survey Database; Table CP.5.

Data downloads:

Consumer perspectives of mental health care 2020–21 tables (46KB XLSX)

Consumer perspectives of mental health care 2020–21 section (819KB PDF)

This section was last updated in August 2022.

Data coverage is 2015–16 to 2020–21 for New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria; Victoria did not conduct the survey during 2019–20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that data will become available from additional jurisdictions for future updates.

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Introduction

Monitoring mental health consumer and carer experiences of service has been a long-term goal of the National Mental Health Strategy (for example, the Department of Health’s National Mental Health Policy 2008). This section presents information about consumer-rated experiences of care in public specialised mental health services using the nationally developed Your Experience of Service (YES) survey.

YES aims to help Australian mental health services and consumers work together to build better services. Currently 3 jurisdictions have implemented YES—New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria—and are contributing to the Your Experience of Service National Best Endeavours Data Set (NBEDS).

The data source section provides more detailed information on the development of the YES survey, participating states and territories, and other aspects of the YES data supply.

Collected surveys

A total of 29,019 YES surveys were collected during 2020–21 (Figure CP.1). New South Wales collected 23,139 surveys, Queensland 3,507 and Victoria 2,373. Compared to the first year of data in 2015–16, the number of returned surveys has increased in all jurisdictions (Figure CP.1.1). Note that in New South Wales consumers are offered the survey at the end of each episode of care, while in Victoria and Queensland consumers are encouraged to complete the survey at a particular time in the year (the data source section provides more detailed information on each state’s methodology). This difference in methodology should be considered when interpreting data from different states. Demographic and other characteristics of consumers who completed surveys are in Figure CP.2.

In admitted care settings, 53.0% of the returned YES surveys were from consumers who received care for a period of 1 day to 2 weeks and 7.8% from consumers who received care for more than 6 months. In residential care, 32.1% were for 1 day to 2 weeks and 25.4% for more than 6 months. This is in contrast to ambulatory care where consumers typically received care for longer periods—in ambulatory care, 8.2% of surveys were from consumers who received care for 1 day to 2 weeks and 50.3% for more than 6 months (Table CP.2).

Figure CP.1: Number of collected Your Experience of Service surveys

Figure CP.1, vertical stacked bar graph showing the number of surveys completed by mental health consumers during 2020–21 for each state, by service setting. In NSW the number of surveys completed is highest in admitted care. In Vic and Qld the number of surveys completed is highest for consumers in ambulatory care. In all states the number of surveys is lowest for consumers in residential care. Refer to Table CP.1.
Figure CP.1.1, line graph showing the number of surveys completed by mental health consumers during 2015–16 to 2020–21 for each state. NSW, Vic and Qld show an increase in the number of completed surveys over time. Refer to Table CP.1. 

Figure CP.1.1 showing the number of surveys over time can be found on the MHSA website.

Notes:
1. An individual consumer may have completed the survey more than once in the reporting period.
2. In NSW, consumers are offered the YES survey throughout the year, while in Vic and Qld, consumers are offered the YES over a particular time of year. Comparisons between jurisdictions should be made with caution.
Source: Your Experience of Service Survey Database; Table CP.1.

Figure CP.2: Characteristics of consumers who completed Your Experience of Service surveys, by setting, 2020–21

Figure CP.2: Horizontal bar graph showing the per cent of surveys by consumer characteristics (age group, gender, Indigenous status, mental health legal status) and service setting for 2020–21. Refer to Table CP.3

The interactive figure CP.2 showing other settings can be found on the MHSA website.

Visualisation not available for printing

Note:
1. An individual consumer may have completed the survey more than once in the reporting period.
Source: Your Experience of Service Survey Database; Table CP.3.

Consumers-rated experience

Two different experience of service ratings are used in this report.

Consumers’ ratings of care (single item)

Reports consumers’ response to a single question in the YES survey, ‘Overall, how would you rate your experience of care with this service in the last 3 months?’. Consumers can select one of five responses – Poor, Fair, Good, Very-Good or Excellent.

Consumers’ positive experience of service (calculated score)

A nationally agreed score developed to reflect each respondent’s experience across multiple survey questions. It is calculated by averaging the consumer’s responses across 22 survey questions, which is then multiplied by 20 to generate a score out of 100. A score of 80 or higher is used to indicate a positive experience of service.

Consumers' ratings of care (PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent on single item)

The YES survey question, ‘Overall, how would you rate your experience of care with this service in the last 3 months?’ provides an overall indication of a respondent’s experience of care.

In all states and service settings, a higher proportion of consumers rated their experience as ‘Excellent’ than any other category (Figure CP.3).

Figure CP.3: Consumer ratings of mental health care, by state and setting

Vertical bar graph showing the per cent of surveys where consumers rated their experience of service as Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good and Excellent in 2020–21 for each state by service setting. In all states and service settings, a higher proportion of consumers rated their experience as ‘Excellent’ than any other category. Refer to Table CP.4.

The interactive figure CP.3 showing other consumer ratings of care in ambulatory care and residential care settings can be found on the MHSA website.

Visualisation not available for printing

Notes:
1. An individual consumer may have completed the survey more than once in the reporting period.
2. Response to question, 'Overall, how would you rate your experience of care with this service in the last 3 months?'.
Source: Your Experience of Service Survey Database; Table CP.4.

Consumers’ experiences of service (Positive using calculated score)

A nationally agreed overall score out of 100 has been developed to reflect each respondent’s ‘experience of service’ across 22 questions in the YES survey (further information on the score methodology can be found in the data source section). A score of 80 or above indicates a positive experience of service.

During 2020–21, a higher proportion of surveys provided responses indicating a positive experience of care than not, in all service settings and jurisdictions (Figure CP.4). By setting, in all three jurisdictions, ambulatory care and residential care had a higher proportion of surveys from consumers who rated their experience positively than admitted care.

Figure CP.4: Consumer surveys indicating a positive experience of a mental health service

Figure CP.4, Interactive bar graph showing the per cent of consumer surveys with an experience of service score of 80 and above, indicating a positive experience, by state and setting, in 2015–16 to 2020–21. Refer to Table CP.5.
Alt text: Figure CP.4.1, Interactive horizontal bar graph showing the per cent of consumer surveys with an experience of service score of 80 and above, indicating a positive experience of service, by setting and state, and age group, gender, Indigenous status and mental health legal status in 2020–21. Refer to Tables CP.6 and 7.

The interactive figures CP.4 and CP.4.1 showing consumer surveys indicating a positive experience of service by state, setting and group can be found on the MHSA website.

Visualisation not available for printing

Notes:
1. An experience of service score of 80 and above (out of 100) indicates a positive experience.
2. The experience of service score is the average of survey questions 1-22 multiplied by 20.
3. An individual consumer may have completed the survey more than once in the reporting period.
Source: Your Experience of Service Survey Database; Figure CP.4 - Table CP.5, Figure CP.4.1 - Tables CP.6 and 7.