The mental health of Australians 2

3.3 People with mental disorders who did not use services

Page last updated: May 2009

The survey not only provided information about who was using services, it also provided information about the characteristics of people who experienced mental disorders in the previous 12 months, but did not use services for their mental health problems.

As previously stated, one third (34.9%) of people with 12-month mental disorders used health services for mental health problems in the previous 12 months. Conversely, about two thirds (65.1%) of people with 12-month mental disorders did not use any health services for their mental health problems.

Males were much less likely to use services for their mental health problems than females, with nearly three quarters (72.5%) of males with a mental disorder not using services compared to three-fifths (59.3%) of females.

Although the prevalence of mental disorders was highest in the younger age groups, service use was low in these groups. Over 80% of males and nearly 70% of females with mental disorders aged 16-24 years do not use any services for their mental health problems. Service use was also low in the older age group. Three quarters (75.5%) of females and four-fifths (80.8%) of males aged 75-85 years did not use services for their mental health problems in the previous 12 months.

While service use was more common among people experiencing more severe mental disorders, one third (35.2%) of people experiencing severe disorders and over half (59.8%) of those with moderate disorders did not use services. Moreover, while service use was more common among people with comorbid mental disorders, the survey found that one third (34.6%) of people with 12-month mental disorders from all three disorder classes and almost one half (44.1%) of those with disorders from two classes did not use services in the 12 months prior to interview.