Estimating treatment rates for mental disorders in Australia

Whiteford, Harvey A., Buckingham, William J., Harris, Meredith G., Burgess, Philip M., Pirkis, Jane E., Barendregt, Jan J. and Hall, Wayne D. (2013) Estimating treatment rates for mental disorders in Australia. Australian Health Review, 38 1: 80-85. doi:10.1071/AH13142

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Author Whiteford, Harvey A.
Buckingham, William J.
Harris, Meredith G.
Burgess, Philip M.
Pirkis, Jane E.
Barendregt, Jan J.
Hall, Wayne D.
Title Estimating treatment rates for mental disorders in Australia
Journal name Australian Health Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0156-5788
Publication date 2013-12-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/AH13142
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 38
Issue 1
Start page 80
End page 85
Total pages 6
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: To estimate the percentage of Australians with a mental disorder who received treatment for that disorder each year between 2006-07 and 2009-10.

Methods: We used: (1) epidemiological survey data to estimate the number of Australians with a mental disorder in any year; (2) a combination of administrative data on people receiving mental health care from the Commonwealth and State and Territories and epidemiological data to estimate the number receiving treatment; and (3) uncertainty modelling to estimate the effects of sampling error and assumptions on these estimates.

Results: The estimated population treatment rate for mental disorders in Australia increased from 37% in 2006-07 to 46% in 2009-10. The model estimate for 2006-07 (37%) was very similar to the estimated treatment rate in the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (35%), the only data available for external comparison. The uncertainty modelling suggested that the increased treatment rates over subsequent years could not be explained by sampling error or uncertainty in assumptions.

Conclusions: The introduction of the Commonwealth's Better Access initiative in November 2006 has been the driver for the increased the proportion of Australians with mental disorders who received treatment for those disorders over the period from 2006-07 to 2009-10. What is known about the topic? Untreated mental disorders incur major economic costs and personal suffering. Governments need timely estimates of treatment rates to assess the effects of policy changes aimed at improving access to mental health services. What does this paper add? Drawing upon a combination of epidemiological and administrative data sources, the present study estimated that the population treatment rate for mental disorders in Australia increased significantly from 37% in 2006-07 to 46% in 2009-10. What are the implications for practitioners? Increased access to services is not sufficient to ensure good outcomes for those with mental disorders. It is also important to ensure that evidence-based treatment is provided to those Australians accessing these services.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Online publication date: 6 December 2013.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
Official 2014 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 19 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 22 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 03 Mar 2014, 02:15:17 EST by Ms Dayna Smith on behalf of Centre for Youth Substance Abuse