State’s high residential mental care

Tasmania recorded the country’s highest number of patients utilising residential mental health care, a recent report shows. 

Tasmania reported the highest rate of episodes of care and residents in RHMC, with 21.3 episodes of care and 11.9 RHMC residents per 10,000 people in 2014-15. 

However, Tasmania recorded the nation’s lowest number of ambulatory-equivalent mental health-related hospitalisations, with or without psychiatric care. 

The were 4.7 such hospitalisations per 10,000 people in the 2014-15 reporting period in the state. The data was detailed in the recently published Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Mental Health Services In Brief 2016 report. 

Mental Health Council of Tasmania chief executive Connie Digolis said high levels of residential care suggested a lack of “long-term support accommodation”. 

The report revealed Tasmania had the highest rate of prescriptions and patients per 1,000 members of the population, with 1,942.1 prescriptions and 207.3 patients. 

Antidepressant medication was the most frequently dispensed mental health related medication in 2014-15, the report said. 

Ms Digolis said GPs were often potentially faced with the “very real” prospect of needing to prescribe medication while their patients were waiting to access other treatments. The report also revealed that Tasmanian specialist homelessness service clients accessed accommodation services at a rate of 318.3 per 100,000. Nationally, the rate was 141.4 per 100,000. 

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