Private hospitals making a significant contribution to the nation’s mental health


Private hospitals continue to make a significant contribution to Australians' mental health, a new report reveals.

The latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) - Healthy Communities: Hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm in 2013-2014 – shows private hospitals contributed 21 per cent of mental health overnight hospitalisations and 26 per cent of all overnight mental health days during the period.

“There are 62 private psychiatric hospitals in Australia caring for about 36,000 Australians every year. These hospitals often treat patients with a range of challenging conditions. This data reinforces the need for mandatory cover in all private health insurance policies,” an Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) spokesperson said.

The report shows mental health continues to be a considerable contributor to the burden of disease in Australia. In 2013-2014 14% of all hospitalisations were for mental health conditions.
This is unlikely to decrease, with 45 per cent of the population aged 16-85 years expected to experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.

Of the 213,076 hospitalisations for mental health in 2013-2014, drug and alcohol use and schizophrenia and delusional disorder were the main contributors to an overnight stay. Schizophrenia and delusional disorder are also the most likely to be treated in specialised care.

The AIHW report releases data for the first time on intentional self-harm. This showed regional areas had markedly higher rates of hospitalisations for this than metropolitan areas and a total for 33,956 hospitalisations around the country.

Metropolitan areas were also less likely to have mental health hospitalisations than their regional counterparts– 857 per 100,000 people compared to 971 per 100,000 people.

“Mental health is a priority health area for PHNs and the Australian Private Hospitals Association and its members look forward to working with PHNs to find mental health solutions for their local populations.

“The mental health nurse incentive program, now funded through PHNs, has been one very successful model supporting people coming out of hospital back into the community. The private sector plays a vital role in hospital care, day programs and out reach support for mental health patients,” an APHA spokesperson said.

The report is released just weeks before Mental Health Week begins (9-15 October 2016).

To read the report click here

To learn more about mental health week visit


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