Patient characteristics

Demographic characteristics

The 2015–16 BEACH survey found that people aged 65+ (1,198.2 per 1,000 population) had the highest rate of mental health-related estimated GP encounters, compared to the general population (749.9) (Figure GP.1).

 

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Figure GP.1 Alternative text - Source data Mental health services provided by general practitioners Table GP.2 (1.82MB XLS)

After adjusting for differences in age structure between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, the rate of encounters was higher for non-Indigenous Australians than for Indigenous Australians (658.6 and 578.7 per 1,000 population respectively). For remoteness area categories, the rate of encounters was highest for people living in Inner Regional areas (947.5 per 1,000 population) while the rate for people living in Remote and very remote areas was the lowest (339.2).

Problems encountered

The BEACH survey found that Depression, Anxiety and Sleep disturbance were the 3 most frequently GP managed mental health-related problems in 2015–16, accounting for 60.8% of all mental health-related problems managed (Figure GP.2) and 5.1% of all health problems managed. Mental health-related problems were managed at a rate of 13.1 per 100 encounters, including encounters where multiple problems were managed.

 

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Figure GP.2 Alternative text - Source data Mental health services provided by general practitioners Table GP.3 (1.82MB XLS)

Management of problems

According to the 2015–16 BEACH survey, the most common form of management of mental health related problems was the prescription, supply or recommendation of medications (61.6 per 100 mental health-related problems managed).

Antidepressants were the most commonly prescribed, recommended or supplied medication (27.8), followed by Anxiolytics (9.8), and Hypnotics and Sedatives (9.1) (Figure GP.3).

 

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Figure GP.3 Alternative text - Source data Mental health services provided by general practitioners Table GP.4 (1.82MB XLS)

The second most common form of management of mental health-related problems was counselling, advice or other clinical treatments provided by a GP (49.6 per 100 mental health-related problems managed) with Psychological counselling (22.6) being the most frequently provided treatment in this category.

Referrals were given at a rate of 18.8 per 100 mental health-related problems managed. The most common referrals made by GPs for mental health-related problems were to psychologists (9.3) and to psychiatrists (2.7) (Figure GP.4).

 

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