UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 1AM, THURSDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 2016
Australians living in regional areas more likely to be hospitalised for a mental health condition
Australians living in regional areas were more likely to be hospitalised for a mental health condition or for intentionally harming themselves in 2013–14, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Healthy Communities: Hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm in 2013–14, looks at local-level variation in populations across Australia’s 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas and 330 smaller local areas.
‘Overnight hospitalisations for mental health conditions varied across PHN areas, from 627 per 100,000 people in the ACT to 1,267 per 100,000 in North Coast NSW. Overall, regional PHN areas had higher rates of hospitalisations than city-based PHNs,’ said AIHW spokesperson Michael Frost.
The disparity between regional and metropolitan PHN areas was more pronounced for hospitalisations related to intentional self-harm.
‘Across all PHN areas, rates ranged from 83 per 100,000 people in Eastern Melbourne PHN area to 240 per 100,000 in Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast – a three-fold variation,’ Mr Frost said.
The report also looks at hospitalisations for six sub-categories of mental health: drug and alcohol use, schizophrenia and delusional disorders, anxiety and stress disorders, depressive episodes, bipolar and mood disorders, and dementia. Hospitalisations for these sub-categories varied across PHN areas.
For the 330 smaller local areas, the report examined variation in overnight mental health hospitalisations within and across socioeconomic and remoteness areas. It found significant disparities – up to four-fold variation – when comparing similar local areas.