Mental health service organisations

There were 170 specialised mental health service organisations responsible for the administration of the 1,525 state and territory specialised mental health facilities (excluding private hospitals) during 2015–16.

The most common organisation type had specialised mental health public hospital services and community mental health care services within their organisational structure (81 organisations or 47.6%). These organisations accounted for around two-thirds of the beds and patient days (69.9% and 69.7% respectively) in specialised mental health public hospital services and more than half (60.5%) of all community mental health care service contacts.

Consumer and carer involvement

Specialised mental health organisations employ mental health consumer workers and mental health carer workers; an indicator of the engagement of consumers and carers in the delivery of mental health services. The definition used to describe this workforce changed for the 2010–11 collection to better capture a variety of contemporary roles. Caution is therefore required when interpreting time series data. See the key concepts for further information. In addition to reporting the number of employed workers, specialised mental health organisations also report the extent to which consumer committee representation arrangements are in place.

Mental health consumer and carer worker employment

Of the 170 specialised mental health service organisations reported nationally in 2015–16, 79 (46.5%) employed mental health consumer workers and 42 (24.7%) employed mental health carer workers. South Australia had the highest proportion of mental health organisations employing consumer workers (68.2%), while Victoria had the highest proportion of organisations employing carer workers (51.7%).

Nationally, the rate of mental health consumer workers employed increased from 29.4 FTE per 10,000 mental health care provider FTE staff in 2011–12 to 44.3 FTE in 2015–16; an annual average increase of 10.8%. Over the same period, the rate of mental health carer workers employed decreased from 18.2 FTE per 10,000 mental health FTE staff in 2011–12 to 17.5 in 2015–16; an annual average decrease of 1.0%. This is a small change and caution is required when interpreting the data since small numbers of mental health consumer and carer workers may have a relatively large impact on the reported rates.

Consumer committee representation arrangements

In 2015–16, 103 (60.6%) specialised mental health organisations reported that they had a formal position on their organisation’s management committee or that a specific consumer advisory committee exists to provide advice on all relevant mental health services managed (Level 1 in the classification of consumer participation arrangements—see the data source section for full descriptions of each level). Levels 2–4 represent progressively less consumer committee representation within the organisation.

The proportion of specialised mental health service organisations with Level 1 consumer participation arrangements increased from 57.1% in 2011–12 to 60.6% in 2015–16 (Figure FAC.2); and is substantially higher than 16.8% in 1993–94.

Source data: Specialised mental health care facilities tables 2015–16 tables (531KB XLS)

National standards for mental health services

Services provided by specialised mental health organisations are measured against the National Standards for Mental Health Services (the National Standards). There are 8 levels available to describe the degree to which a specialised mental health service unit meets the National Standards,from Level 1 (a service unit has met all national standards) through to Level 8 (national standards do not apply). See the data source section for the full description of all 8 levels. For reporting purposes, the data presented are grouped into 4 levels for reporting purposes.

To accurately reflect the proportion of mental health services meeting the various National Standards levels, the expenditure reported for each service unit is used to calculate the proportion of services meeting the four reporting levels. In this way, the relative size of a service unit is accounted for when calculating the proportion of services meeting the National Standards levels. It is important to note that the accreditation process is cyclical in nature and therefore state and territory results may vary greatly from year to year. Using this approach, 82.9% of all service units which were reviewed by an external accreditation agency such as the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) or the Quality Improvement Council (QIC) met the National Standards (Level 1) in 2015–16. The Australian Capital Territory was the only jurisdiction to report all service units meeting Level 1, although almost all service units in Queensland (99.5%) and the Northern Territory (98.1%) and a large proportion of service units in Western Australia (90.2%) and New South Wales (89.7%) met Level 1 standards. Victoria reported the highest proportion of service units meeting Level 4 (18.1%) and Tasmania had the highest proportion of service units at Level 3 (69.0%).