The national recurrent expenditure on mental health services in 2006-07 was estimated to be $4.7 billion, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
'Of this total, 62% ($2.9 billion) came from state and territory governments, 34% ($1.6 billion) from the Australian Government and the remaining 4% ($177 million) from private health insurance funds,' said Mr Gary Hanson of the AIHW's Mental Health Services Unit.
Funding increased by just over 5% per year on average between 1997-98 and 2006-07.
Funding by the state and territory governments and by the Australian government both increased by 5.3% per year.
'General practitioners are often a first contact point for people with mental health concerns,' Mr Hanson said.
An estimated 12 million GP-patient encounters in 2007-08 involved management of a mental health issue, with the number of encounters growing by an annual average of 4.4% since 2003-04.
The majority of these encounters were not claimed as Medicare mental health-specific items, and therefore are not included in the estimated national expenditure on mental health-related services.
Community mental health and hospital outpatient services provided close to 6 million mental health-related service contacts to mental health consumers in 2006-07, an increase of more than 5% from 2005-06.
According to the report, Mental health services in Australia 2006-07, there were 20 million mental health-related prescriptions subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in 2007-08 accounting for just over one in ten of all prescription claims.
The number of prescriptions decreased by 0.4% per year, on average, from 2003-04.
Spending on these mental health-related prescriptions was over $700 million with prescriptions for antipsychotics and antidepressants accounting for just over 90% of the total.
From 2002-03 to 2006-07, the number of beds in specialised psychiatric wards of public hospitals increased on average by just over 3% to around 4,200 beds, while over the same period, stand-alone public psychiatric hospitals beds decreased by 1.6% to just over 2,200 beds.
Estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing suggest that one in five Australians experienced symptoms of a mental disorder in the 12 months prior to the survey.
We'd love to know any feedback that you have about the AIHW website, its contents or reports.
The browser you are using to browse this website is outdated and some features may not display properly or be accessible to you. Please use a more recent browser for the best user experience.