National mental health report 2013

3.1 Introduction

Page last updated: 2013

As noted in Part 1, the current National Mental Health Report can be distinguished from its predecessors by the inclusion of new outcome oriented indicators agreed for monitoring progress of the Fourth National Mental Health Plan. Part 3 presents the most current quantitative data on the Fourth Plan indicators, and draws on qualitative information about the progress of the actions agreed under the Plan. Part 3 is organised around the five priority areas of the Fourth Plan, namely:

  • social inclusion and recovery
  • prevention and early intervention
  • service access, coordination and continuity of care
  • quality improvement and innovation and
  • accountability – measuring and reporting progress.

Quantitative indicators

The development of indicators under the Fourth National Mental Health Plan was underpinned by a number of principles. The 25 indicators were selected to be inclusive of all components of the mental health sector, including public, private and non-government agencies in both the primary care and the specialist mental health sector. They were also designed to go beyond this, and consider key intersections in cross-sectoral reform. There was a commitment to using existing national data wherever possible, and to specify the indicators in a manner consistent with currently recognised quality frameworks. Eleven of the 25 indicators were taken directly from the 12 indicators specified by the COAG National Action Plan on Mental Health, to ensure their continued publication given that reporting on the National Action Plan has now been completed. The need for extensive work to develop suitable data sources to populate some indicators was recognised, along with the fact that proxy indicators might need to be used in the interim where preferred data were not available.

As a preliminary exercise to reporting the Fourth Plan indicators in future National Mental Health Reports, work was undertaken to develop detailed specifications and identification of data sources through the then National Mental Health Information Strategy Subcommittee (now Standing Committee), which acts as an inter-governmental group and operates under the auspices of the Australian Health Ministers Standing Council on Health. The resulting document, The Fourth National Mental Health Plan Measurement Strategy 2011,32 has guided the presentation of all indicators in the current report.

Table 8 provides an overview of the indicators. Three indicators (1, 2 and 20) are split because they require data from two different sources. This effectively means that the total number of indicators is 28, rather than 25. Data sources and specifications (including proxy measures) have been developed for 19 of these (1a, 2a, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20a, 21, 22 and 23, highlighted by a green traffic light symbol in the table). No current data sources are available for the nine remaining indicators, but work is in progress for seven of these (1b, 2b, 5, 17, 18, 24 and 25, highlighted by an amber traffic light symbol), and there is no foreseeable data source for two indicators (10 and 20b, highlighted by a red traffic light symbol). The first 19 are reported in Part 3 and will continue to be reported for the rest of the Fourth National Mental Health Plan. No further detail is provided on the remainder in the current report.

Data sources and explanatory notes for quantitative data presented in Part 3 are provided in Appendix 2. Top of page

Table 8: Overview of indicator status

Table 8 is split into 5 parts in this html version. It is a single table in the PDF version.

Priority area 1: Social inclusion and recovery

Indicator no.Indicator descriptionIndicator status*
1aParticipation rates by people with mental illness of working age in employment: General populationD
1bParticipation rates by people with mental illness of working age in employment: Public mental health service consumersNC
2aParticipation rates by young people aged 16–30 with mental illness in education and employment: General populationD
2bParticipation rates by young people aged 16–30 with mental illness in education and employment: Public mental health service consumersNC
3Rates of stigmatising attitudes within the communityD
4Percentage of mental health consumers living in stable housingD
5Rates of community participation by people with mental illnessNC

* Indicator status:
D - Data sources and specifications developed
NC - No current data sources available (including proxy measures) but work is in progress
NF - No foreseeable data source

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Priority area 2: Prevention and early intervention

Indicator no.Indicator descriptionIndicator status*
6Proportion of primary and secondary schools with mental health literacy component included in curriculumD
7Rates of contact with primary mental health care by children and young peopleD
8Rates of use of licit and illicit drugs that contribute to mental illness in young peopleD
9Rates of suicide in the communityD
10Proportion of front line workers within given sectors who have been exposed to relevant education and trainingNF
11Rates of understanding of mental health problems and mental illness in the communityD
12Prevalence of mental illnessD

Priority area 3: Service access, coordination and continuity of care

Indicator no.Indicator descriptionIndicator status*
13Percentage of population receiving mental health careD
14Readmission to hospital within 28 days of dischargeD
15Rates of pre-admission community careD
16Rates of post-discharge community careD
17Proportion of specialist mental health sector consumers with nominated GPNC
18Average waiting times for consumers with mental health problems presenting to emergency departmentsNC
19Prevalence of mental illness among homeless populationsD
20aPrevalence of mental illness among people who are remanded or newly sentenced to adult correctional facilitiesD
20bPrevalence of mental illness among people who are remanded or newly sentenced to juvenile correctional facilitiesNF
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Priority area 4: Quality improvement and innovation

Indicator no.Indicator descriptionIndicator status*
21Proportion of total mental health workforce accounted for by consumer and carer workersD
22Proportion of services reaching threshold standards of accreditation under the National Mental Health StandardsD
23Mental health outcomes for people who receive treatment from state and territory services and the private hospital systemD
24Proportion of consumers and carers with positive experiences of service deliveryNC

Priority area 5: Accountability: Measuring and reporting progress

Indicator no.: 25
Indicator description: Proportion of services publicly reporting performance data
Indicator status: NC - No current data sources available (including proxy measures) but work is in progress
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Qualitative data sources

The Fourth National Mental Health Plan committed governments to collaborative action in 34 areas designed to achieve reform at a national level in each of the five priority areas. Twenty three of these actions are examined in the current National Mental Health Report, on the grounds that they are being pursued independently of broader national reforms (see 1.3). Each action is being led by a lead agency (generally a jurisdiction, or a working group established under the auspices of the Australian Health Ministers' Standing Council on Health). Each priority area has an overall lead which is required to report on the Fourth Plan's implementation process, and these reports are collated in the Fourth Plan's Second Progress Report of Implementation Activity. For the purposes of the current report, the most recent progress report to 2010-11, as endorsed by the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Principal Committee, has been used as the primary source of information on progress of the specific actions of the Fourth Plan.