This web update is the third release of data on hospitalisation rates of mental health-related conditions and intentional self-harm for 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas and 333 smaller local areas (called SA3s) across Australia.
This release provides information about local care requirements for mental health and can be used to inform decisions of PHNs and others about the need for coordination between primary and hospital care, and the provision of preventive primary mental health care services for the community. Comparisons to the previous years’ results are summarised in graphs and resources.
The data show that in 2015–16:
- Nationally there were 244,934 overnight hospitalisations for mental health conditions in both public and private hospitals. This represented 6% of all overnight hospital admissions and 11% of bed days. The national mental health overnight hospitalisations rate was 102 per 10,000 people, up from 94 per 10,000 people in 2014–15 and 91 per 10,000 people in 2013–14.
- PHN areas in regional locations had higher rates of mental health overnight hospitalisations (106 per 10,000 people) than those in metropolitan areas (96 per 10,000 people). However, bed day rates for mental health hospitalisations were higher in metropolitan areas (1,376 per 10,000 people) compared with regional areas (1,365 per 10,000 people).
- Country SA PHN area had the highest age-standardised rate of mental health overnight hospitalisations (135 per 10,000 people), followed by North Coast PHN area (134 per 10,000 people). These were almost twice that of Australian Capital Territory (ACT) PHN area, which had the lowest age-standardised rate of 73 hospitalisations per 10,000 people.
- Over three-quarters of PHN areas experienced a steady increase in overnight hospitalisations for mental health conditions from 2013–14 to 2015–16.
- Between 2014–15 and 2015–16, one-third of PHN areas had an increase in hospitalisation rate of 10% or more, with the ACT PHN area experiencing the highest increase of 16%.
- Across SA3 areas, Adelaide City had the highest rates of mental health overnight hospitalisations (224 per 10,000 people). This was over five times higher than the lowest rates of 43 per 10,000 people in Litchfield (NT).
- Drug and alcohol use, and schizophrenia and delusional disorders were the two most common mental health conditions requiring overnight hospitalisation, similar to the pattern observed in 2013–14 and 2014–15. In 2015–16, these two conditions together represented 37% of all mental health hospitalisations and 42% of all mental health bed days nationally.
- For intentional self-harm, there were 39,579 overnight and same-day hospital admissions. The age-standardised hospitalisation rate was more than three times higher in Northern Territory PHN area (29 per 10,000 people) compared with Eastern Melbourne (9 per 10,000 people).
Differences in hospitalisation rates in one area compared with another may reflect differences in the proportion of people with mental health conditions and the severity of these conditions as well as differences in access to community-based care.