• Print
  • Downloads

    PDF: Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services section (202KB)
    PDF (202KB)

    Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services (890KB XLS)
    Tables (890KB XLS)

     Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services
    Portal

    This section presents the number and type of Medicare-subsidised mental health‑related services provided by psychiatrists, general practitioners (GPs), psychologists and other allied health professionals—including mental health nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and Aboriginal health workers. These services are defined in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and are provided in a range of settings, for example in hospital, consulting rooms, home visits, and over the phone. Information on the characteristics of people who received these services is also presented. For further information on the MBS data, refer to the data source section. Additional information on Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services provided by GPs is available in the Mental health services provided by general practitioners section.



    Key points

    • More than 10.6 million Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services were provided by psychiatrists, GPs, psychologists and other allied health professionals to nearly 2.3 million patients in 2015–16, an average of 4.7 services per patient.
    • GPs provided more services to more patients than the other provider types.
    • The total number of Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services increased by an annual average of 7.6% from 7.9 million in 2011–12 to 10.6 million in 2015–16.
    • In 2015–16, Victoria had the highest rate of patients (105.1 per 1,000 population) and services (525.4 per 1,000 population).
    • Patients aged 35–44 accessed Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services at the highest rate among all age groups; 129.9 patients per 1,000 population in 2015–16.
    • Females accessed Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services at a rate of around 1.5 times that of males; 545.7 services per 1,000 population, compared to 340.4 for males.
    Data in this section were last updated in May 2017.

    Service provision

    States and territories

    There were 10,619,261 Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services reported in 2015–16 for an estimated 2,261,759 patients; an average of 4.7 services per patient (Tables MBS.1, 7 & 17).

    Victoria had the highest number of patients and services per 1,000 population (105.1 and 525.4 respectively), compared to the national averages of 94.5 patients per 1,000 population and 443.6 services per 1,000 population. The Northern Territory had the lowest rate for both patients and services per 1,000 population (44.7 and 132.3 respectively) (Figure MBS.1).


    Figure MBS.1: Medicare-subsidised mental health-related service and patient rates, by states and territories, 2015–16

    Vertical bar chart showing the rates of Medicare-subsidised mental health related services and patients in 2015–16 by state or territory. Vic had the highest rate of services (525.4), followed by Qld (464.3), NSW (432.3), SA (415.6), Tas (406.5), ACT (346.0), WA (320.0), and NT (132.3). The total was 443.6. Vic had the highest rate of patients (105.1), Qld (96.8), NSW (94.2), SA (91.3), Tas (86.9), ACT (81.3), WA (76.6) and NT (44.7). The total was 94.5. Refer to Tables MBS.1 & MBS.7.

    Source: Medicare Benefits Schedule data (Department of Health).

    Source data: Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services Table MBS.1 & MBS.7 (890KB XLS).


    Service providers

    In 2015–16, GPs provided the highest number of Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services (3,244,789 services or 30.6%), followed by other psychologist services (that is, services provided by psychologists not classified as clinical psychologists) (2,629,005 services or 24.8%) and psychiatrists (2,355,319 services or 22.2%) (Figure MBS.2). Among the Medicare-subsidised mental health-related service provider types, psychiatrists had the highest number of services per patients (6.3 services per patient) (Table MBS.16).


    Figure MBS.2: Medicare-subsidised mental health-related patients and services, by provider type, 2015–16

    Vertical bar chart showing Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services and patients by provider type. 376,241 patients received services from a psychiatrist, 1,848,950 from a GP, 450,449 from clinical psychologist, 620,498 from other psychologists & 82,027 from other allied health. 2,355,319 services were provided by psychiatrists, 3,244,789 by GPs, 2,037,106 by clinical psychologists, 2,629,005 by other psychologists and 353,042 by other allied health providers. Refer to Tables MBS.1 & MBS.7.

    Source: Medicare Benefits Schedule data (Department of Health).

    Source data: Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services Tables MBS.1 & 7 (890KB XLS).


    Most of the Medicare-subsidised psychiatrist services in 2015–16 were attendances provided in consulting rooms (74.2%), followed by attendances in hospitals (17.4%). Eight out of 10 (80.4%) of Medicare‑subsidised other allied health services were provided by social workers (Table MBS.7).


    Over time

    A range of mental health-related services provided by GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists were introduced to the MBS from 2006 to 2011. These items included, but were not limited to, the GP Mental health treatment plan, psychologist therapy services and psychiatrist attendance services. For more information on the MBS item number changes over time refer to the data source section.

    From 2007–08 to 2015–16, the rate of people receiving Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services from GPs increased (35.0 to 77.8 per 1,000 population), as did the rates for clinical psychologists (6.1 to 18.9) and other psychologists (12.5 to 26.1); rates of people receiving services from psychiatrists was comparatively stable (13.0 to 15.8) (Figure MBS.2). The increases reflect GPs providing more mental health specific Medicare-subsidised services and the introduction of new Medicare-subsidised services.

    The total number of Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services increased from 7.9 million services in 2011–12 to 10.6 million services in 2015–16; an average annual increase of 7.6% over the 5-year period. Other allied health services had the highest average annual increase (11.2%), followed by both GP services and clinical psychological services (10.3%) and other psychological services (6.1%). The number of subsidised psychiatrist services increased at a lower rate over the same period (3.4%) (Table MBS.13). Since the introduction of a range of GP specific mental health services in 2007–08, the number of GP Medicare-subsidised mental health services has increased from 1.2 million services in 2007–08 to 3.2 million services in 2015–16 (Table MBS.13).


    Figure MBS.3: People receiving Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services, by provider type, 2007–08 to 2015–16

    Line chart showing the rate of people receiving Medicare-subsidised mental health services by provider and year, overtime. The rate by psychiatrists was relatively stable, at 13.0 in 2007–08 increasing to 15.8  in 2015–16, GPs; 35.0  to 77.8, Clinical psychologists; 6.1  to 18.9, Other psychologists; 12.5  to 26.1. From 2009–10, the other allied health services rate increased to 3.5 in 2015–16. Data for people receiving allied health services was not published in 2007–09. Refer to Table MBS.5

    Source: Medicare Benefits Schedule data (Department of Health).

    Source data: Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services Table MBS.5 (890KB XLS).

    | Patient characteristics>