Key concepts

Consumer perspectives of mental health services

Key concept Description
Admitted care A specialised mental health service that provides overnight care in a psychiatric hospital or a specialised mental health unit in an acute hospital. Psychiatric hospitals and specialised mental health units in acute hospitals are establishments devoted primarily to the treatment and care of admitted patients with psychiatric, mental or behavioural disorders. These services are staffed by health professionals with specialist mental health qualifications or training and have as their principal function the treatment and care of patients affected by mental disorder/illness.
Ambulatory care

A specialised mental health service that provides services to people who are not currently admitted to a mental health admitted or residential service. Services are delivered by health professionals with specialist mental health qualifications or training. Ambulatory mental health services include:

  • community-based crisis assessment and treatment teams;
  • day programs;
  • mental health outpatient clinics provided by either hospital or community-based services;
  • child and adolescent outpatient and community teams;
  • social and living skills programs;
  • psychogeriatric assessment services;
  • hospital-based consultation-liaison and in-reach services to admitted patients in non-psychiatric and hospital emergency settings;
  • ambulatory-equivalent same day separations;
  • home based treatment services; and
  • hospital based outreach services.

Whether a person was provided care under relevant state or territory mental health legislation compulsory treatment provisions.

The state and territory mental health acts and regulations provide the legislative guidance that safeguards the rights and governs the care of patients with mental illness in admitted patient care, residential care and community-based services. The legislation varies between the state and territory jurisdictions but all contain provisions for the assessment, admission and treatment of patients on an involuntary basis.

A person with involuntary status received care under compulsory treatment provisions.

A person with voluntary status received care that was not under compulsory treatment provisions.

Residential care

A service that is considered by the state, territory or Australian Government funding authorities as a service that:

  • has the workforce capacity to provide specialised mental health services; and
  • employs suitably trained mental health staff to provide rehabilitation, treatment or extended care on-site:
    • to consumers residing on an overnight basis;
    • in a domestic-like environment; and
  • encourages the consumer to take responsibility for their daily living activities.

These services include those that employ mental health trained staff on-site 24 hours per day and other services with less intensive staffing (but the trained staff must be on site for a minimum of 6 hours a day and at least 50 hours per week).

Suitably trained residential mental health care staff may include:

  • individuals with Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications in community services, mental health or disability sectors;
  • individuals with tertiary qualifications in medicine, social work, psychology, occupational therapy, counselling, nursing or social sciences; and
  • individuals with experience in mental health or disability relevant to providing mental health consumers with appropriate services.
Specialised mental health services

Specialised mental health services are those with a primary function to provide treatment, rehabilitation or community support targeted towards people with a mental disorder or psychiatric disability. These activities are delivered from a service or facility that is readily identifiable as both ‘specialised’ and ‘serving a mental health care function’.

A service is not defined as a specialised mental health service solely because its clients include people affected by a mental disorder or psychiatric disability.

The definition excludes specialist drug and alcohol services and services for people with intellectual disabilities, except where they are specifically established to assist people affected by a mental disorder who also have drug and alcohol related disorders or intellectual disability.

The services can be sub-units of hospitals that are not, themselves, specialised mental health establishments (for example designated psychiatric units and wards, outpatient clinics etc).

Your Experience of Service National Best Endeavours Data Set (YES NBEDS)

The YES NBEDS is Data Set Specification that describes the YES survey questions and defines coding for responses. The scope of YES NBEDS is state and territory public sector specialised mental health services. Specific information for each data element can be found in the YES NBEDS entry on the METeOR website.