4329.0 - Characteristics of people using mental health services and prescription medication, 2011

Mental health Medicine Australia


The Mental Health Services-Census Data Integration project brings together for the first time the breadth of the 2011 Census data with administrative information on people accessing subsidised mental health-related Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) services and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription medication.

This project was initiated on behalf of the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) with the aim of informing the National Review of Mental Health Services and Programmes (the Review). The focus of the Review is to 'assess the efficiency and effectiveness of programmes and services in supporting individuals experiencing mental ill health and their families and other support people to lead a contributing life and to engage productively in the community'.

Integrating a selected subset of data items from the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS), Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the 2011 Census of Population and Housing (Census) has greatly increased the power of the data to support analysis of the circumstances and characteristics of people experiencing mental ill-health as they interact with the health care system. The Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset includes people who responded to the 2011 Census and those who accessed subsidised mental health-related items listed on the MBS or PBS in 2011.

This project will contribute significantly to the pool of mental health-related data available in Australia to assist in the development and evaluation of mental health programs and support services now and into the future. Questions can be answered about people accessing subsidised mental health-related services and medications with evidence that up until now has not been available. For example, analysis of the integrated data will answer questions about the relationship between mental health-related services, medication use, and key socio-economic information such as education, employment and housing.

The confidentiality of these data are protected by the Census and Statistics Act (1905) and the Privacy Act (1988). MBS and PBS information provided by the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services to the ABS is treated in the strictest confidence as is required by the National Health Act (1953), and the Health Insurance Act (1973).

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