The above perspective provides an overall picture of the relative investments by each of the states and territories in providing mental health services, but does not shed light on how particular population groups are served. Data from the 2010-11 National Minimum Data Set - Mental
Health Establishments collection provide the basis for such an analysis, although they do not permit the exclusion of mental health specific grants made by the Australian Government in the same way as the data reported in the overall state and territory analyses described above.
Distribution of funds in each state and territory is organised into general adult, older persons, child and adolescent and forensic programs and services. Figure 10 summarises how state and territory funding was distributed across these program areas in 2010-11. It shows that just under two thirds of expenditure was directed to general adult services, which primarily serve those aged 18-64 years. The remainder was distributed across the other population groups, in grants to NGOs and in other indirect expenditure.
Substantial differences exist between jurisdictions in both the extent to which mental health services are differentiated according to age specific programs and the level at which these programs are funded. Figure 11 shows the per capita level of funding provided for general adult mental health services by each state and territory, and Figure 12 and Figure 13 provide the same information for chiId and adolescent services and older persons' services respectively.
Together, these figures show that the relative positions of the 'well resourced' and 'poorly resourced' jurisdictions differ depending on which age related program is considered. For example, although Queensland is one of the lower per capita spending jurisdictions, its expenditure on child
and adolescent mental health services in 2010-11 was 21% above the national average. Tasmania, on the other hand, is the second top spending jurisdiction overall, but spends 35% less than the national average on child and adolescent mental health services.
The analysis highlights that, while mental health services are not provided uniformly across Australia, the greatest variation is in the availability of specialist child and adolescent and older persons' services, with a nearly two and a half fold difference between the highest and lowest spending jurisdictions.
It should also be noted that general adult mental health services provide care not only for the adult population but also for children and adolescents and older persons. Indeed, where such services do not exist or are less well developed (such as in the Northern Territory), general adult services substitute. The net impact is that in some jurisdictions, estimates of the total expenditure on adults are overstated because a proportion of the resources is necessarily used to provide services to younger or older people.
Differences between the jurisdictions may reflect different population needs, different ways of organising services, or a combination of both. At this stage, there is no national agreement on how mental health budgets should be split across age specific programs.
Figure 10: National summary of state and territory government mental health expenditure by program type, 2010-11 a, b
Text version of figure 10
- General adult mental health services - 61.4%
- Child and adolescent mental health services - 9.9%
- Older persons mental health services - 10.6%
- Forensic mental health services - 5.4%
- Grants to NGOs - 7.2%
- Other indirect expenditure - 5.4%
Figure 11: Per capita expenditure by states and territories on general adult mental health services ($), 2010-11 c,d,e
Text version of figure 11
- NSW - $183
- Vic - $159
- Qld - $181
- WA - $233
- SA - $195
- Tas - $227
- ACT - $177
- NT - $204
- National average - $184 Top of page
Figure 12: Per capita expenditure by states and territories on child and adolescent mental health services ($), 2010-11 c,d,e
Text version of figure 12
- NSW - $78
- Vic - $67
- Qld - $98
- WA - $93
- SA - $90
- Tas - $53
- ACT - $99
- NT - $43
- National average - $81 Top of page
Figure 13: Per capita expenditure by states and territories on older persons' mental health services ($), 2010-11 c,d,e
Text version of figure 13
- NSW - $121
- Vic - $205
- Qld - $89
- WA - $198
- SA - $163
- Tas - $135
- ACT - $164
- NT - $0
- National average - $148 Top of page
a Youth mental health services (0.2% of total state and territory mental health expenditure) have been included in child and adolescent mentaI health services
b NGO expenditure excludes residentiaI services managed by the NGO sector. This expenditure is targeted mainly at the adult population.
c Estimated expenditure for each age specific population is based on the classification of services reported to the Mental Health Establishments National Minimum Dataset , not the age of consumers treated
d Analysis excludes NGO grants (other than NGO managed staffed residential services) and expenditure on services classified as Forensic Psychiatry
e Per capita rates calculated using age specific population denominators.