NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Better aim needed to hit bullseye in mental health

help  ” Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people take their own lives at a rate five times that of other Australians,”

“This is devastating Aboriginal communities and we must do everything in our power to try to save these young lives.

If we can train up young people and others in our communities to recognise and react to the warning signs in their peers, there is a good chance we can support those who are suffering before they reach the point of no return.

This is a good initiative which empowers communities to be part of the solution.’

Matthew Cooke NACCHO Chair Press Release May 2016

Understanding how many people in each community need hospital treatment for mental health conditions, helps to identify local areas that may require more ACCHO services and support.”

NACCHO Mental Health Articles 117 in total

NACCHO Suicide Prevention articles 87 in total

“Are people living in rural and remote Australia more likely to be hospitalised for mental health conditions than their city counterparts?

The report, Healthy Communities: Hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm in 2013-2014, recently released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare gives some insight into this issue.

The report looks at hospitalisations for five mental health conditions: schizophrenia and delusional disorders, anxiety and stress disorders, depressive episodes, bipolar and mood disorders and dementia as well as drug and alcohol use and intentional self-harm.”

The National Rural Health Alliance is Australia’s peak non-government organisation for rural and remote health. Its vision is good health and wellbeing in rural and remote Australia

The report, Healthy Communities: Hospitalisations for mental health conditions and intentional self-harm in 2013–14, looks at local-level variation in populations across Australia’s 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas and 330 smaller local areas.

Download the report aihw_hc_report_mental_health_september_2016

‘Overnight hospitalisations for mental health conditions varied across PHN areas, from 627 per 100,000 people in the ACT to 1,267 per 100,000 in North Coast NSW. Overall, regional PHN areas had higher rates of hospitalisations than city-based PHNs,’ said AIHW spokesperson Michael Frost.

The disparity between regional and metropolitan PHN areas was more pronounced for hospitalisations related to intentional self-harm.

‘Across all PHN areas, rates ranged from 83 per 100,000 people in Eastern Melbourne PHN area to 240 per 100,000 in Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast – a three-fold variation,’ Mr Frost said.

The report also looks at hospitalisations for six sub-categories of mental health: drug and alcohol use, schizophrenia and delusional disorders, anxiety and stress disorders, depressive episodes, bipolar and mood disorders, and dementia. Hospitalisations for these sub-categories varied across PHN areas.

For the 330 smaller local areas, the report examined variation in overnight mental health hospitalisations within and across socioeconomic and remoteness areas. It found significant disparities – up to four-fold variation – when comparing similar local areas.

The report will be also available on the MyHealthyCommunities website (http://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au).

The website is now managed by the AIHW, following the transfer of functions from the former National Health Performance Authority in June.

Updated information is also available on the website for a range of Medicare Benefits Schedule statistics in 2014–15, and life expectancy and potentially avoidable deaths’

This report focuses on the mental health of populations in small areas across Australia. It aims to assist Primary Health Networks and others in making informed decisions about resources required in providing effective primary mental health care.

The report finds:

  • In 2013–14 across the 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas that cover Australia, the age-standardised rate of mental health overnight hospitalisations was twice as high in some PHN areas compared to others. Across more than 300 smaller local areas called SA3s, the rates were almost six times higher in some local areas compared to others. Rates of hospitalisation include admissions to both public and private hospitals
  • The most common group of mental health conditions requiring hospitalisation was from drug and alcohol use (38,636 hospitalisations). These overnight admissions accounted for 299,829 bed days nationally. In 2013–14 the age-standardised rate of hospitalisations varied more than three-fold, from 87 admissions per 100,000 people (in North Western Melbourne PHN area) to 275 per 100,000 people (in Western Queensland PHN area)
  • The second most common group of mental health conditions requiring hospitalisation was schizophrenia and delusional disorders (36,562 hospitalisations). These overnight admissions accounted for 813,514 bed days nationally – the most bed days for any of the groups of conditions in the report. The age-standardised rate of hospitalisations varied more than two-fold, from 102 admissions per 100,000 people (in Australian Capital Territory PHN area) to 234 per 100,000 people (in North Coast NSW PHN area)
  • In 2013–14, there were 33,956 hospital admissions (including overnight and same-day) for intentional self-harm, which accounted for 184,332 bed days nationally. The age-standardised rate of hospitalisations for intentional self-harm varied from 83 per 100,000 people (in Eastern Melbourne PHN area) to 240 per 100,000 people (in Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast PHN area).

Better aim needed to hit bullseye in mental health

Overall, overnight hospitalisation rates were 13 per cent higher in rural and remote areas (971 hospitalisations per 100 000 population) as compared to metropolitan areas (857 per 100 000 population).

While data indicates significant difference in the rates of hospitalisation in rural and remote Australia compared with major centres, it also reveals significant variation within regions – the rates of hospitalisation in some towns can be almost 8 times higher than for other towns of the same remoteness.

The NSW north coast had the lowest overall rate of overnight hospitalisations for health conditions. For drug and alcohol hospitalisations, western Queensland had the highest rates. Country South Australia had the highest hospitalisation rate for depressive episodes. Central Queensland/Sunshine Coast had the highest hospitalisation rate for intentional self-harm.

The very large variations in mental illness hospitalisation within cities, within rural Australia and within remote communities underlies the importance of targeting programs to specific towns and communities, rather than our current approach of treating all rural areas and all remote areas as if they have the same needs.

The variation in rates could be due to a number of factors including differences in the prevalence in mental illness, variable access to mental health services and programs or even differences in hospital admissions processes in rural and remote hospitals.

The National Rural Health Alliance is Australia’s peak non-government organisation for rural and remote health. Its vision is good health and wellbeing in rural and remote Australia.

The data will be invaluable to funders and health services in identifying and targeting areas of poor health to ensure that efforts and resources are targeted to the areas of greatest need.

The National Rural Health Alliance looks forward to working with the Rural Health Commissioner, when they are appointed, to address such poor health outcomes within rural and remote Australian communities.

If you or anyone you know needs help,

you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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