Mental health encounters on the rise in general practice

Paul Hayes

12/12/2017 3:09:56 PM

One out of every eight general practice encounters in 2015–16 was related to an issue of mental health, according to new data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

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Mental health-related GP encounters were found to have increased 4.7% annually since 2011–12.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW’s) Mental health services in Australia revealed almost 18 million (12.4%) GP encounters in 2015–16 were mental health-related. Depression was found to be the most commonly managed mental health issue, accounting for close to one-third (32.1%) of GP encounters. The report also found a 4.7% average annual increase in the estimated number of mental health-related GP encounters since 2011–12.
Close to 3.2 million Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific GP services were provided to more than 1.8 million patients in 2015–16, with 97.5% of those GP Mental Health Treatment Plan items. In addition, the number of Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific GP services experienced an average annual growth of 8.6% over the five years to 2015–16.

People aged 65 and older had the highest rate of mental health-related encounters of all the age groups – 1198.2 per 1000 population, compared to a national rate of 749.9.

AIHW Australian-Institute-of-Health-and-Welfare mental-health-services-in-Australia


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