4329.0.00.002 - Housing Circumstances of People Using Mental Health Services and Prescription Medications, 2011  
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INTRODUCTION

Housing is most readily defined in terms of the physical structures used to provide shelter (Endnote 1). More broadly, places of residence serve other functions such as providing a place for privacy, to care for family members and friends, to socialise, entertain and spend time with others, and to relax, eat and sleep.

For some people their housing circumstances may reflect their preferences or desires, not just their needs. However, regardless of whether those circumstances are based on a need or want, housing should cater for different needs of people at different stages of life, their physical abilities and their cultural context. Appropriate housing can be an important determinant of health and subjective wellbeing, of building social connections and of access to jobs and public services.

This publication is the third in a series of analyses based on data from the Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset. It explores use of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) subsidised mental health-related services and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidised mental health-related medications in 2011 by people with different housing circumstances, building upon previous releases from the Integrated Dataset. These are:


MBS subsidised mental health-related services are those provided by psychiatrists, general practitioners (GPs), clinical psychologists, other psychologists, and other allied health professionals. PBS subsidised mental health-related medications comprise antipsychotics, anxiolytics/hypnotics and sedatives, antidepressants, and psychostimulants, agents used for ADHD and nootropics. See Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 respectively for more detail about mental health-related services and medications listed on the MBS and PBS.

Housing circumstances considered in this publication include:
  • Dwelling type (private dwellings and non-private dwellings);
  • Tenure type (home owner or renting);
  • Household type (family, group and lone person households);
  • Living arrangements; and
  • Overcrowding.

In the Integrated Dataset, the Census of Population and Housing provides insight into a range of socio-demographic characteristics including age, sex, remoteness, socio-economic disadvantage, household income, labour force status, educational attainment and others.

DATA QUALITY CONSIDERATIONS

There are a number of factors that should be considered when interpreting information presented in this publication.

While MBS items included in scope of the Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset include a range of subsidised mental health-related services provided in Australia, consultations with some medical practitioners such as paediatricians were not captured in the dataset, even if they were related to mental health. Consultations with GPs that may have involved discussion of mental health issues but were not recorded as mental-health related medications were also not captured.

The type of dwelling a person resides in is usually determined by the Census collector during enumeration. As well as being increasingly difficult to determine whether some dwellings are private or non-private, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to determine or distinguish between some types of non-private dwelling. For example, for nursing homes and accommodation for the retired or aged, accommodation is usually offered for both low and high level care which can be difficult to separately identify.

A person's use of mental health-related services or medications does not imply a diagnosis of a mental health condition. For information on people who reported having a mental or behavioural condition in Australia in 2014-15 (4.0 million people) see National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001).

ENDNOTES

1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015, Frameworks for Australian Social Statistics, Jun 2015, cat.no. 4160.0.55.001