Australians spending more on mental health services, research reveals


More than $8 billion was spent nationally on mental health services in 2013-14 in Australia. This is equivalent to $344 per person across the population. Photo: Counselling, Pixabay

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Photo: Jedidja, Pixabay

Spending on mental health services in Australia has increased in recent years. This is according to a new report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

According to the report, Mental Health Services in Australia, more than $8 billion was spent nationally on mental health services in 2013-14 in the country. This is equivalent to $344 per person across the population.

Of the $8 billion funding, 60 percent was provided by the state and territory governments, 36 percent by the Australian Government and 4 percent is coming from private health insurance funds.

Funding from the government for mental health services increased on average by 4.7 percent annually over the period 2009-10 and 2013-14. State and territory government funding also increased over the same period (2.6 percent).

Spending on state and territory specialized mental health services cost $4.9 billion for 2013-14.

“The largest proportion of this state/territory government recurrent expenditure was spent on public hospitals services for admitted patients ($2.1 billion), followed by expenditure  on community mental health care services ($1.9 billion),” said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.

During the period 2013-14, the government spent about $971 million in benefits for Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services. An estimated $753 million was also spent on subsidized prescriptions under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme/Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“Expenditure on psychologist services made up the largest component of mental health-related Medicare subsidies (43%), and prescriptions for antipsychotics and antidepressants accounted for the majority of mental health-related PBS/RPBS expenditure during this period (57% and 36%, respectively),” said Mr. Beard.

Mental health needs more attention as it has a significant impact on Australians, as shown in the data. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said giving enhancing the emotional resilience of Australian workers will help in creating a mentally healthy workplace.

“One approach involves ensuring workers are equipped to deal with the expected stresses of the work they are required to do and are empowered to take the right course of action to protect their wellbeing,” Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said in a media statement.

With one in five Australian workers estimated to experience a mental illness, providing a mentally healthy work environment to workers is crucial.

Employers have the responsibility to provide assistance to workers suffering from mental health problems. Actively promoting the mental wellbeing of workers will result in better productivity, increased morale and employee retention, and lesser absences.

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