Mental health-specific services

Services

There were 12.1 million Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific services provided to 2.7 million Australians in   2018–19. Further details of the characteristics of these services are described below. Victoria (539.7 services per 1,000 state specific population) had the highest rate of services, and Northern Territory (156.4) had the lowest, considerably lower than the national rate (480.8) (Figure MBS.4).

 
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Description of figure MBS.4 - Source data: Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific services tables (142KB XLS)

In 2018–19, Australians aged 35–44 years had the highest rate of Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific service use (65.1 services per 100 age specific population); people aged 0–4 years (3.2) had the lowest usage rate. Females had a higher rate of service usage than males (59.3 and 36.6 services per 100 sex specific population, respectively). People living in Major Cities had the highest rate of service use (52.1 per 100 remoteness area population), with rates decreasing by remoteness to 8.6 for Very remote (Figure MBS.5).

 
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Description of figure MBS.5 - Source data: Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific services tables (142KB XLS)

Average number of services per patient

In 2018–19, patients in the Northern Territory had the lowest average number of Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific services per patient (2.9), compared with the national average of 4.5 services per patient. All other states and territories averaged between 4.3 and 4.8 services per patient. People aged 55–64 years had the highest average number of services per patient (4.9) among the age groups and patients aged 0–4 years (2.9) had the lowest. Females (4.7) averaged more services per patient than males (4.3).

Over time

The total number of Medicare-subsidised mental-health specific services increased from 6.2 million in 2008–09 to 12.1 million in 2018–19; an increase from 290.1 services per 1,000 population in 2008–09 to 480.8 in 2018–19 (Figure MBS.6). The increase in the rate of services was mostly due to increases in services provided by GPs (increase of 2.1 million from 2008–09 to 2018–19), followed by Psychological Therapy Services involving clinical psychologists (1.5 million), and other psychology services involving clinical psychologists and other psychologists (1.4 million). There was only a marginal increase in the rate of Medicare-subsidised mental health specific services delivered by psychiatrists; for all other providers there were increases in the rate of services delivered in recent years. The number of patients per provider has increased over time while the number of services per patient has fallen. Further information on the new items that were added under the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS (Better Access) initiative in 2006–07 can be found in the data source section.

 
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