A second year of data on hospitalisation rates for mental health-related conditions and intentional self-harm is now available for the 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas and more than 300 smaller local areas across Australia.
This release provides further information about local care requirements for mental health and can be used to inform decisions of PHNs and others about the need for coordination between primary and hospital care, and the provision of preventive primary mental health care services for the community. Comparisons to the previous year’s results are summarised in graphs and resources.
The data show that in 2014–15:
- Nationally there were 223,882 overnight hospitalisations for mental health conditions in both public and private hospitals. This represented 5% of all overnight hospital admissions, but 14% of bed days. The national mental health overnight hospitalisation rate was 944 per 100,000 people, up from 911 per 100,000 people in 2013–14
- There was twice the age-standardised rate of mental health overnight hospitalisations in the North Coast (NSW) PHN area (1,271 hospitalisations per 100,000 people) compared with the Australian Capital Territory PHN area (628 per 100,000)
- Nearly half (14) of the 31 PHN areas recorded higher rates of mental health overnight hospitalisations than in 2013–14, while only one PHN area had a significantly lower rate of hospitalisations
- Overall, PHN areas in regional locations had higher rates of mental health hospitalisations (999 per 100,000 people) than those in metropolitan areas (888 per 100,000). However, the number of mental health-related days in hospital (bed days) per 100,000 people was greater in metropolitan areas
- Across more than 300 smaller local areas (called SA3s), the rate of mental health overnight hospitalisations was more than five times higher in Adelaide City (2,289 hospitalisations per 100,000 people) than in Palmerston, NT (436 per 100,000)
- The two most common groups of mental health conditions requiring hospitalisation continued to be from drug and alcohol use (41,685 hospitalisations) and schizophrenia and delusional disorders (38,004 hospitalisations). Together, these two groups represented 36% of all mental health overnight hospitalisations and 37% of all mental health bed days nationally
- For intentional self-harm, there were 36,696 hospital admissions (including overnight and same-day). The age-standardised hospitalisation rate was three times higher in the Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast PHN area (259 per 100,000 people) compared with the North Western Melbourne PHN area (84 per 100,000).
Differences in hospitalisation rates in one area compared with another may reflect differences in the proportion of people with mental health conditions and the severity of these conditions as well as differences in access to community-based care.
In 2014–15 regional PHN areas continued to have a higher mental health overnight hospitalisation rate than metropolitan PHN areas:
- Regional PHN areas: 999 hospitalisations per 100,000 people
- National rate: 944 hospitalisations per 100,000 people
- Metropolitan PHN areas: 888 hospitalisations per 100,000 people