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    This section presents information on prescriptions for mental health-related medications; both subsidised and under co-payment. Mental health‑related medications reported in this section comprise antipsychotics, anxiolytics, hypnotics and sedatives, antidepressants, and psychostimulants and nootropics—prescribed by all medical practitioners. Trend data for the period 2011–12 to 2015–16 are limited to subsidised mental health-related medications, because under co-payment data were not available from the Department of Human Services prior to 1 April 2012.

    For further information on the PBS and RPBS and the medications covered by these schemes, refer to the data source section. Related data on expenditure on medications subsidised under the PBS and RPBS are presented in the Expenditure section.



    Key points

    • There were 36.0 million prescriptions for mental health-related medications (subsidised and under co-payment) provided to just over 4.0 million patients in 2015–16, equating to an average of 9.0 prescriptions per patient.
    • There were a total of 24.2 million prescriptions for subsidised mental health-related medications in 2015–16, which was nearly 7 in 10 (67.2%) of the total number of mental health-related prescriptions.
    • 87.6% of the mental health-related prescriptions (subsidised and under co-payment) were provided by GPs, with 8.0% being prescribed by psychiatrists and 4.4% by non-psychiatrist specialists in 2015–16.
    • Antidepressant medications accounted for 68.7% of total mental health-related (subsidised and under co-payment) prescriptions in 2015–16.
    • Females, those aged 65 and over and those people living in Inner regional areas had the highest mental health-related prescription and patient rates.

    Data in this section were last updated in May 2017.


    There were 36.0 million prescriptions for mental health-related medications (subsidised and under co-payment) in 2015–16. This is equivalent to 1,503.9 mental health-related prescriptions per 1,000 population. These prescriptions were provided to 4.0 million patients, which equates to 167.6 patients per 1,000 population (or 16.7% of Australians). There was an average of 9.0 prescriptions per patient in 2015–16 (Table PBS.6).

    Of the 36.0 million mental health related prescriptions, 24.2 million were subsidised prescriptions provided to 2.4 million patients; an average of 9.9 prescriptions per patient in 2015–16.


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