Mental health servicesin Australia
Tables (443KB XLS)
Hospital emergency departments (EDs) play a role in treating mental illness. For a range of reasons, EDs are often used as an initial point of care by those seeking mental health-related services for the first time, as well as an alternative point of care for people seeking after-hours mental health care (Morphet et al. 2012).
State and territory health authorities collect a core set of nationally comparable information on most public hospital ED occasions of service in their jurisdiction, which is compiled annually into the National Non-Admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database (NNAPEDCD). The mental health-related ED data reported here, however, are currently supplied outside of this process by jurisdictions directly to AIHW, as the NNAPEDCD has only recently included information on the principal diagnosis for each occasion of service (see data source for more information).
Data for the Australian Capital Territory were not available for the 2013–14 and 2014–15 reporting periods. See the footnotes in each of the tables for details about the calculation of national rates.
Data in this section were last updated in October 2016
Mental health-related ED occasions of service in this section are defined as occasions of service in public hospital EDs that have a principal diagnosis of Mental and behavioural disorders. This definition has a number of limitations. For example, the definition does not fully capture all potentially mental health-related presentations to EDs such as intentional self-harm. As a consequence, the data presented in this section are likely to under-report the actual number of mental health-related ED occasions of service. A number of caveats relating to the quality of these data are listed in the data source section.
A total of 256,178 public hospital ED occasions of service with a mental health-related principal diagnosis were reported by states and territories in 2014-15, representing 3.4% of all ED occasions of service (Table ED.3).
Nationally, the rate of mental health-related ED occasions of service was 110.3 per 10,000 population. The Northern Territory had the highest rate (255.5) and Victoria the lowest (82.7) (Figure ED.1). The observed jurisdictional differences are likely to be due to varying population characteristics, health-care systems and service delivery practices.
Figure ED.1: Mental health-related emergency department occasions of service in public hospitals, states and territories, 2014–15
Source:Unpublished data provided by state and territory health authorities.
Source data Mental health services provided in emergency departments Table ED.1 (443KB XLS).
Morphet J, Innes K, Munro I, O'Brien A, Gaskin CJ, Reed F et al. 2012. Managing people with mental health presentations in emergency departments—A service exploration of the issues surrounding responsiveness from a mental health care consumer and carer perspective. Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal 15:148-55.
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