Psychiatric disability support services

This section presents information on specialist disability support services, provided under the National Disability Agreement (NDA) to service users with a Psychiatric disability either as their Primary disability or as an Other significant disability. Unless otherwise stated, service users with a psychiatric disability include all service users with a psychiatric disability, regardless of whether it is considered a primary or other significant disability.

The information presented in this section has been extracted from the 2016–17 Disability Services National Minimum Data Set (Disability Services NMDS); comprising national administrative data on disability support services. The data source section provides further information on coverage, data quality, and other aspects of the Disability Services NMDS.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) began full roll out in July 2016. The AIHW is pursuing data about support services provided to people with psychosocial disability.  

Data downloads:

Psychiatric disability support 2016–17 tables (680KB XLS)

Psychiatric disability support 2016–17 section (396KB)

Data coverage includes the time period 2005–06 to 2016–17. This section was last updated in July 2018.

Key points

  • About 100,900 people with a psychiatric disability received disability support services in 2016–17.
  • Non-residential support services were accessed by users with a psychiatric disability at a much higher rate than residential services.
  • Employment services was the most common non-residential service accessed by users with a psychiatric disability in 2016–17.
  • Group homes was the most common residential service type accessed by service users with a psychiatric disability in 2016–17.
  • The rate of service users with a psychiatric disability was more than 1.5 times as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than other Australians.

Service users with a psychiatric disability

Across Australia, 330,984 people made use of specialist disability support services provided under the NDA during 2016–17 (AIHW 2018 ). Of these, 100,939 people had a psychiatric disability, with 64,578 of these having a primary psychiatric disability.

In 2016–17, there were 413.9 users of psychiatric disability support services per 100,000 population nationally (Figure DIS.1). South Australia had the highest rate (537.5) of service users followed by Victoria (500.8) and Queensland (444.6). With the transition of clients into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Australian Capital Territory did not collect data under the National Disability Agreement during 2016–17. Consequently, ACT data only includes users of Australian Government administered services.

Source data: XLS DownloadPsychiatric disability support services 2016–17 Table DIS.1 (680KB XLS).

Over the 5 years to 2016–17, the rate of service users with a psychiatric disability increased an average of 3.0% annually, from 367.8 in 2012–13 to 413.9 in 2016–17 (Figure DIS.2). These changes over time should be interpreted with caution, due to changes in the methodology used over time and the transition of clients into the NDIS. Visit the data source section for more information.

Source data: Psychiatric disability support services 2016–17 Table DIS.1 (680KB XLS).

Nationally, there were 264.8 service users per 100,000 population with a primary psychiatric disability (Figure DIS.3). Victoria had the highest rate (360.8) followed by South Australia (288.2) and Queensland (282.3).