4329.0.00.003 - Patterns of Use of Mental Health Services and Prescription Medications, 2011  
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OVERVIEW OF SUBSIDISED MENTAL HEALTH-RELATED TREATMENTS IN 2011

In 2011 there were 3.2 million people (15.0% of all Australians) who accessed at least one MBS or PBS subsidised mental health-related treatment (either a service such as a consultation with a psychologist, or medication, or both). Overall, females were more likely to have used a mental health-related treatment than males: almost one in five females (18.2%) compared with around one in nine males (11.7%).

Of the 3.2 million people who accessed at least one MBS or PBS subsidised mental health-related treatment in 2011, around one-quarter (27.0%, or 872,700 people) used services only while 20.7% (668,000 people) used both services and medications. Around one half (52.3%, or 1.7 million people) used medications only in 2011 (note these people should not be considered to have obtained medications without a prescription, as the consultation at which the medication was prescribed may not have been recorded as a mental health-related service, or may have occurred earlier than 2011).

Younger people were more likely to use MBS subsidised mental-health related services only than were older people, while older people were more likely to use PBS subsidised mental health-related medication only. Of children aged 0-14 years who used at least one MBS or PBS subsidised treatment in 2011, the majority (61.8%) used MBS services only. Of people aged 75 years and over who used at least one MBS or PBS subsidised treatment in 2011, nine in ten (90.8%) people used PBS medications only, compared with 2.3% accessing MBS services only.

Graph Image for Proportion of people accessing MBS or PBS mental health-related services and or medications in 2011, by Age groups

Source(s): The Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset



Differences in types of use also existed for other socio-demographic characteristics.

Of people who had at least one MBS or PBS subsidised mental health-related treatment in 2011, those living in Major Cities had higher rates of using services only than those living in Remote/Very Remote areas of Australia (30.2% compared with 18.6% respectively). Conversely, people living in Remote/Very Remote areas had higher rates of using medications only than people in Major Cities (66.8% compared with 48.5% respectively).

Around one in five (18.1%) people living in the most disadvantaged areas of Australia who had at least one MBS or PBS subsidised mental health-related treatment in 2011 used services only, compared with 39.1% of people living in areas of least disadvantage. Conversely, 60.1% of people living in the most disadvantaged areas who had at least one MBS or PBS subsidised mental health-related treatment in 2011 used medications only, compared with 41.1% of people living in areas of least disadvantage.

Graph Image for Proportion of people accessing MBS or PBS mental health-related services and or medications in 2011, by Disadvantage(a)

Footnote(s): A lower Index of Disadvantage quintile (e.g. Quintile 1) indicates an area with relatively greater disadvantage. A higher Index of Disadvantage (e.g. Quintile 5) indicates an area with a relative lack of disadvantage.

Source(s): The Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset



Of people who had at least one MBS or PBS subsidised mental health-related treatment in 2011, people with a need for assistance with core activities (for example, those relating to self-care, communication and mobility) had lower rates of using services only than other people (6.6% compared with 30.8% respectively) and higher rates of using medications only (74.1% compared with 48.2% respectively).

Graph Image for Proportion of people accessing MBS or PBS mental health-related services and or medications in 2011, by Assistance(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Whether needs assistance with disability, long term illness or problems related to old age for core activities, including self-care, mobility and communication.

Source(s): The Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset



Similarly, of people aged 15-64 years who had at least one MBS or PBS subsidised mental health-related treatment in 2011, people not in the labour force had lower rates of using services only than people in the labour force (20.1% compared with 43.9% respectively) and higher rates of using medications only (50.1% compared with 32.2% respectively).

Graph Image for Prop. of people accessing MBS or PBS mental health-related services and or medications in 2011, by Labour force(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 15-64 years.

Source(s): The Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset



For information on other socio-demographic characteristics of people who had at least one MBS or PBS subsidised mental health-related treatment in 2011 see Datacube Table 1.