Consumer perspectives of mental health care

Monitoring mental health consumer and carer experiences of service has been a long-term goal of the National Mental Health Strategy. This section presents information about consumer-rated experiences of care in public specialised mental health services using the nationally developed Your Experience of Service (YES) survey. The YES survey aims to help Australian mental health services and consumers work together to build better services. The project was a national initiative funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and managed by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the Mental Health Information Strategy Standing Committee (MHISSC). Implementation of the YES survey and national reporting of the data is a key action under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (CHC 2017).

Currently 3 jurisdictions—New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria —have implemented the YES survey and are contributing to the Your Experience of Service National Best Endeavours Data Set (NBEDS). In New South Wales, consumers are offered the YES survey during every hospital stay or community episode of care. In Queensland and Victoria , consumers are offered the YES during a particular time of the year. In 2019, Queensland services offered the survey over a period of 6 weeks, and Victoria offered the survey over 3 months. Comparisons between jurisdictions with different methods should therefore be made with caution. The data source section provides more detailed information on the development of the YES survey, participating states and territories, and other aspects of the YES data supply.

It is anticipated that this section will expand as YES survey data become available from additional jurisdictions.

Data downloads:

XLS DownloadConsumer perspectives of mental health care tables 2018–19 (41KB XLSX)

Consumer perspectives of mental health care section 2018–19 (814KB PDF)

This section was last updated in October 2020.

Key points

  • To date New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria have implemented the YES survey to monitor mental health consumers’ experiences of care.
  • 31,282 consumer-rated experience of service surveys were collected from 86 mental health service organisations in 2018–19.
  • In admitted care in 2018–19, 70.1% of respondents in NSW, 53.0% in Vic and 53.7% in Qld, reported a positive experience of service.
  • 86.4% of respondents in NSW, 74.8% in Vic and 78.1% in Qld rated the care they received as ‘Good’, ‘Very good’ or ‘Excellent’.
  • In ambulatory (non–admitted) care in 2018–19, 80.9% of respondents in Qld, 78.7% in NSW and 76.5% in Vic, reported a positive experience of service. 91.7% of respondents in Qld, 88.7% in NSW and 88.1% in Vic rated the care they received as ‘Good’, ‘Very good’ or ‘Excellent’. 
  • In residential care in 2018–19, 85.6% of respondents in Qld and 81.8% in Vic, reported a positive experience of service. 95.0% of respondents in Qld and 93.0% in Vic rated the care they received as ‘Good’, ‘Very good’ or ‘Excellent’.
  • In admitted and ambulatory care, a higher proportion of respondents with Voluntary legal status reported positive experience of service than respondents with Involuntary legal status.

Returned surveys

A total of 31,282 YES surveys were returned in 2018–19 (Figure CP.1). New South Wales had the largest number of returned surveys (24,775) followed by Queensland (3,747) and Victoria (2,760). Compared to 2015–16, the number of returned YES surveys has increased in all jurisdictions (Figure CP.2). Note that in New South Wales consumers are offered the survey at the end of each episode of care, while in Victoria and Queensland consumers are encouraged to complete the survey at a particular time in the year (the data source section provides more detailed information on each state’s methodology).

The majority of surveys were received from consumers in admitted and ambulatory (non-admitted) care settings (18,465 and 12,214 surveys, respectively) with a smaller number received from consumers in residential care  (603). This is consistent with the lower number of consumers accessing residential care services observed in relevant data collections (reported in the section Specialised mental health care facilities’ of Mental health services in Australia). New South Wales did not report any surveys being received from consumers in residential care in 2018–19 and Queensland did not report residential mental health services prior to 2017–18. Note that an individual consumer may have completed the survey more than once in the reporting period.

Figure CP.1: Received YES surveys by service setting and state, 2018-19.

Vertical bar graph showing the number of surveys completed by mental health consumers in 2018–19 for each state, by service setting. Numbers for admitted care: NSW 16,758; Vic 809; Qld 898;  Residential care: NSW 0; Vic 457; Qld 146; Ambulatory care: NSW 8,017; Vic 1,494; Qld 2,703; Source: Table CP.1.

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Figure CP.2: Received YES surveys, by state, 2015-16 to 2018-19.

Vertical bar graph showing the number of surveys completed by mental health consumers in 2015–16 to 2018–19 for each state. Numbers in 2015–16: NSW 13,242; Vic 2,015; Qld 3,380. Numbers in 2016–17: NSW 20,864; Vic 2,058; Qld 3,458. Numbers in 2017–18: NSW 22,895; Vic 2,512; Qld 3,244. Numbers in 2018–19: NSW 24,775; Vic 2,760; Qld 3,747. Source: Table CP.1. 

Visualisation not available for printing

Source data XLS DownloadConsumer perspectives of mental health care tables (41KB XLSX)

In ambulatory care settings, 6.1% of the returned YES surveys were from consumers who received care for a period of 1 day to 2 weeks and 54.5% from consumers who received care for more than 6 months. This is in contrast to other settings where consumers typically received care for shorter periods—in residential care, 35.0% of surveys were from consumers who received care for 1 day to 2 weeks and 21.4% for more than 6 months; in admitted care, 51.1% were for 1 day to 2 weeks and 9.2% for more than 6 months.