Resident and episode characteristics

Resident demographics

People aged 35–44 years had the highest proportion of residential care episodes (25.5%) and number of episodes per 10,000 population (6.1) in 2015–16. Overall, there were slightly more residential care episodes for females (50.5%) than males (49.5%); however, when the population was taken into account, rates for males and females were the same at approximately 3.2 episodes per 10,000 population.  

Figure RMHC.2: Rates of residential episodes, by demographic variables, 2015–16

Horizontal bar chart showing the rates of residential episodes (per 10,000 population), by demographic variables, 2015–16. Rates for people aged less than 25 years were low, increasing among 25–34 years to peak at 35–44 years, decreasing among 45–54 years and 55–64 years with the lowest rate among those aged 65+. Episode rates for Indigenous Australians were higher than non-Indigenous Australians as were Australian-born residents compared with overseas-born residents. Residents from the most disadvantaged areas, SEIFA Quintile 1, had the highest episode rates. Refer to Table RMHC.6.

Source: National Residential Mental Health Care Database.

Source data: Residential Mental Health Care Table RMHC.6 (160KB XLS).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accounted for 5.3% of all episodes where Indigenous status was recorded. Indigenous Australians had more than twice the rate of episodes of residential care compared to non-Indigenous Australians (6.4 episodes per 10,000 population for Indigenous Australians and 3.1 for non-Indigenous Australians).

Almost two-thirds (63.3%) of residential care episodes were for people who usually live in Major cities. However, the rate of residential care episodes was highest for people who live in Inner regional areas (5.3 per 10,000 population compared to 2.8 per 10,000 population in Major Cities).

The rate of episodes for Australian-born residents (3.8 per 10,000 population) was over twice the rate for those born overseas (1.7). Residential care episodes were most common for people usually living in areas classified as being in the lowest (most disadvantaged) socioeconomic status quintile (29.7%). Residents from the most disadvantaged areas also had the highest rate of episodes of residential care (4.7 per 10,000 population), with rates decreasing with increasing socioeconomic status quintile. People from the highest (least disadvantaged) socioeconomic quintile areas had the lowest rate of episodes of residential care (1.5 per 10,000 population).

Principal diagnosis

The principal diagnosis recorded for people who have an episode of residential mental health care is based on the broad categories listed in the Mental and behavioural disorders chapter (Chapter 5) of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM edition). See the Health-related classifications section for further information.

The most common principal diagnosis recorded was Schizophrenia  (2,094 episodes or 27.1%) followed by Specific personality disorders  (800 episodes or 10.4%) in 2015–16 (Figure RMHC.3). A large proportion of episodes had a principal diagnosis of Mental disorder, not otherwise specified (F99) (8.1%). See the data source section for further information on principal diagnosis data quality issues.

Figure RMHC.3: Proportion of residential episodes for the 5 most commonly reported principal diagnoses, 2015–16

Horizontal bar chart showing the proportion of residential episodes for the 5 most commonly reported principal diagnoses, 2015–16. Schizophrenia: 27.1%25, Specific personality disorders: 10.4%25, Depressive episode: 9.6%25, Schizoaffective disorders: 9.1%25 and Bipolar affective disorders: 7.7%25. Refer to Table RMHC.14.

Source: National Residential Mental Health Care Database.

Source data: Residential Mental Health Care Table RMHC.14 (160KB XLS).

Characteristics of residential care episodes

Length of completed residential stay

In 2015–16, 6,858 residential episodes of care formally ended before the end of the reference period (known as completed residential stay). Completed episodes of care were most commonly 2 weeks or less (3,754 or 54.7%) (Figure RMHC.4). A small number (161 episodes or 2.3%) lasted longer than 1 year.

Figure RMHC.4 Residential mental health care episodes (per cent), by length of completed residential stay, 2015–16

Horizontal bar chart showing the proportion of residential mental health care episodes (per cent) by length of completed residential stay, 2015–16. 0-2 weeks: 54.7%25, >2 weeks–1 month: 28.8%25, >1–3 months: 8.7%25, >3–6 months: 2.9%25, >6–12 months: 2.5%25, >1–5 years: 2.2%25 and >5 years: 0.1%25.

Note: Includes only those episodes that formally ended during the reference period, therefore, episodes ending as a result of the end of reference period were excluded.

Source: National Residential Mental Health Care Database.

Source data: Residential Mental Health Care Table RMHC.7 (160KB XLS).

Trends

The proportion of completed residential stays with a length of 0 to 2 weeks increased from 54.9% in 2011–12 to 58.1% in 2014–15, declining to 54.7% in 2015–16 (Figure RMHC.5). The proportion of completed residential stays with a length of 2 weeks to 1 month increased over the 2011–12 to 2015–16 period, while all other lengths of stay as a proportion decreased.

Figure RMHC.5: Residential mental health care episodes (per cent), by length of completed residential stay, 2011–12 to 2015–16

Line chart showing the proportion of residential mental health care episodes by length of completed residential stay from 2011–12 to 2015–16. 0-2 weeks was increasing incrementally each year from 2011–12 to 2014–15, until 2015–16 when it decreased slightly. >2 weeks–1 month showed a slight increase over the 2011–12 to 2015–16 time period. The rest of the duration categories >1–3 months, >3–6 months, >6–12 months, >1–5 years and >5 years, representing smaller proportions overall, showed a decline. Refer to table RMHC.8

Note: Includes only those episodes that formally ended during the reference period, therefore, episodes ending as a result of the end of reference period were excluded.

Source: National Residential Mental Health Care Database.

Source data: Residential Mental Health Care Table RMHC.8 (160KB XLS).

Mental health legal status

Fewer than one-fifth (19.4% or 1,452 episodes) of residential care episodes were for residents with an Involuntary mental health legal status in 2015–16; a decrease from 26.2% in 2011–12. Interpretation of time series results should be made with caution due to jurisdictional data quality improvements and a variable proportion of not reported mental health legal status during this period. See the data source section for further information.

Residents with a principal diagnosis of Schizophrenia accounted for nearly half (670 episodes or 46.1%) of all involuntary episodes of care. The proportion of episodes for residents with an involuntary mental health legal status was highest for those with a principal diagnosis of Schizoaffective disorders (35.0% or 244 episodes) and Schizophrenia (33.7% or 670 episodes) compared to the next three most common principal diagnoses (Figure RMHC.6).

Figure RMHC.6: Residential episodes for the 5 most commonly reported principal diagnoses, by mental health legal status, 2015–16

Stacked horizontal bar chart showing the number of residential episodes for the 5 most commonly reported principal diagnoses, by mental health legal status, voluntary or involuntary, 2015–16. Schizophrenia: involuntary 670 and voluntary 1319, Schizoaffective disorders: involuntary 244 and voluntary 454, Bipolar affective disorders: involuntary 116 and voluntary 452, Depressive episode: involuntary 48 and voluntary 665 and Specific personality disorders: involuntary 38 and voluntary 762.  Refer to table RMHC.11

Source: National Residential Mental Health Care Database.

Source data: Residential Mental Health Care Table RMHC.11 (160KB XLS).