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    Mental health services provided in emergency departments tables (443KB XLS)
    Tables (443KB XLS)

    Mental health-related services provided in emergency departments portals
    Portal

    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.


    Key points

    • There were an estimated 256,178 ED occasions of service with a mental health-related principal diagnosis in 2014–15, that is about 3.4% of all ED occasions of service reported in public hospitals.
    • More than half (53.1%) of mental health-related ED occasions of service had a principal diagnosis of either Neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders or Mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use.
    • About 4 in 5 (79.3%) mental health-related ED occasions of service were classified as either semi-urgent (patient should be seen within 60 minutes) or urgent (patient should be seen within 30 minutes).
    • Three in 5 (60.7%) mental health-related ED occasions of service were recorded as being resolved without the need for admission or referral. Most of the remaining mental health-related occasions of service (31.7%) were admitted to hospital.

    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.


    Service provision


    States and territories

    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

    Vertical bar chart showing the rate (per 10,000) of mental health-related ED occasions of service for all jurisdictions in 2014–15. NT had the highest rate of mental health-related occasions of service at 255.5 per 10,000 population followed by Qld (126.6), SA (124.4), NSW (117.0), Tas (106.4), WA (101.7) then Vic (82.7). Refer to Table ED.1.

    Source:Unpublished data provided by state and territory health authorities.

    Source data Mental health services provided in emergency departments Table ED.1 (443KB XLS).


    Reference

    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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