Psychiatric disability support services

This section presents information on specialist disability support services, provided under the National Disability Agreement (NDA) to service users with a Psychiatric disability either as their Primary disability or as an Other significant disability. Unless otherwise stated, service users with a psychiatric disability include all service users with a psychiatric disability, regardless of whether it is considered a primary or other significant disability. The progressive transition of service users from the NDA to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has reduced the collection of data under the NDA. For this reason, comparisons of data between years should be undertaken with caution.

While some specialist disability support services provided under the NDA have been rolled into the NDIS, other services (such as Disability Employment Services) will continue once the NDIS is fully rolled out. Further information can be found in Disability support services: services provided under the National Disability Agreement 2018–19 (AIHW 2020).

The information presented in this section has been extracted from the 2018–19 Disability Services National Minimum Data Set (Disability Services NMDS); comprising national administrative data on disability support services. The data source section provides further information on coverage, data quality and other aspects of the Disability Services NMDS.

The NDIS began operating at trial sites in July 2013. From July 2016, it began transitioning to the full scheme and the roll-out is nearing completion. Most, but not all, existing NDA service users are expected to move to the NDIS over time (AIHW 2020). This section also includes data from the Disability Services NMDS on the number of NDA service users who transitioned to the NDIS in the period 2014–15 to 2018–19.

As at 30 June 2019, there were 25,192 people with a primary psychosocial disability, that may arise from a mental health issue, who were active participants with an approved plan (a document outlining a participant’s needs and goals) under the NDIS (NDIA 2019). The data source section provides further information on the NDIS.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is an independent statutory agency whose role is to implement the NDIS. The NDIA collects data pertaining to the NDIS and publishes online quarterly reports (NDIA 2019). More information about the NDIS can be found on the NDIS website.

Data downloads:

Psychiatric disability support services 2018–19 tables (260KB XLS)

Psychiatric disability support services 2018–19 section (507KB)

This section data was last updated in July 2020.

Key points

  • 106,401 people with a psychiatric disability received disability support services provided under the NDA during 2018–19.
  • 13,675 service users with a psychiatric disability transitioned to the NDIS during the period 2014–15 to 2018–19.
  • Non-residential support services were accessed by users with a psychiatric disability at a much higher rate than residential services in 2018–19.
  • Employment services were the most common non-residential service accessed by users with a psychiatric disability in 2018–19.
  • Group homes were the most common residential service type accessed by service users with a psychiatric disability in 2018–19.
  • The rate of service users with a psychiatric disability was almost 2 times as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than other Australians.

Service users with a psychiatric disability

Across Australia, 229,752 people made use of specialist disability support services provided under the NDA during 2018–19 (AIHW 2020). There were 106,401 service users with a psychiatric disability, and of these, 70,791 had a primary psychiatric disability.

In 2018–19, there were 422.6 users of psychiatric disability support services per 100,000 population nationally (Figure DIS.1). South Australia had the highest rate of service users (606.4), followed by Queensland (490.0) and Victoria (477.9). Note that the Australian Capital Territory Government did not collect Disability Services NMDS data in 2015–16 and 2016–17, and was not required to collect data under the NDA during 2017–18 and 2018–19 as the transition of clients to the NDIS was completed in 2016–17. Consequently, ACT data only includes users of Australian Government administered services.

Figure DIS.1: Service users with a psychiatric disability, states and territories.

Vertical bar graph showing disability service users per 100,000 population with a psychiatric disability for each state/territory and nationally in 2018–19. Rates: NSW 375.3; Vic 477.9; Qld 490.0; WA 266.4; SA 606.4; Tas 467.5; ACT 262.4; NT 121.2; National total 422.6. Refer to Table DIS.1.

Visualisation not available for printing

Source data: Psychiatric disability support services tables (260KB XLS).

Over the 5 years to 2018–19, the rate of service users per 100,000 population with a psychiatric disability increased an average of 0.7% annually, from 407.1 in 2014–15 to 422.6 in 2018–19 (Figure DIS.2). Note that data from 2013–14 onwards are affected by the progressive introduction of the NDIS—as a result, analysing trends in Disability Services NMDS data over time is complex, but a decrease in the number of NDA clients is expected as the roll-out of the NDIS progresses. More information can be found in the data source section.

Figure DIS.2: Service users with a psychiatric disability , 2005-06to 2018-19.

Line graph showing disability service users per 100,000 population with a psychiatric disability, nationally from 2005–06 to 2018–19. Rates: 2005–06, 187.5; 2006–07, 231.0; 2007–08, 276.3; 2008–09, 339.4; 2009–10, 366.0; 2010–11, 396.1; 2011–12, 389.2; 2012–13, 368.0; 2013–14, 382.3; 2014–15, 407.1; 2015–16, 401.6; 2016–17, 414.1; 2017–18, 407.2; 2018–19, 422.6 Refer to Table DIS.3.

Visualisation not available for printing

Source data: Psychiatric disability support services tables (260KB XLS).

Nationally, there were 253.5 service users per 100,000 population with a primary psychiatric disability in Australian Government funded services (Figure DIS.3). South Australia had the highest rate (394.9), followed by Tasmania (310.4) and Queensland (304.0).

Figure DIS.3: Service users with a primary psychiatric disability, Australian Government funded services, by states and terriotries. 2018-19.

Vertical bar graph showing disability service users per 100,000 population with a primary psychiatric disability for each state/territory and nationally in 2018–19. Rates: NSW 245.2; Vic 238.7; Qld 304.0; WA 170.3; SA 394.9; Tas 310.4; ACT 184.5; NT 74.0; Total 253.5. Refer to Table DIS.2. 

Visualisation not available for printing

Source data: Psychiatric disability support services tables (260KB XLS).

NDA service users who transitioned to the NDIS

During the period 2014–15 to 2018–19; 13,675 NDA service users with a psychiatric disability transitioned to the NDIS, and of these, 4,635 (33.9%) transitioned during 2018–19. There was a small decrease in the number of service users with a psychiatric disability who transitioned to the NDIS in 2018–19 compared with the previous year. A similar pattern was observed for all NDA service users, with over one-third (40,018) of the 107,325 NDA service users who transitioned to the NDIS during the period 2014–15 to 2018–19 having done so in 2017–18 (AIHW 2020). This pattern reflects the commencement of the full NDIS roll-out from 1 July 2016.

Most service users with a psychiatric disability who transitioned to the NDIS in 2018–19 were aged 35–64 years (3,260 or 70.3%). There were 3,095 (66.8%) service users who lived in a private residence, 3,181 (68.6%) reported the Disability Support Pension as their main source of income, and 1,859 (40.1%) were not in the labour force.