10% of GP consults relate to mental health
ABOUT one in 10 GP consultations involves a mental health issue, a major national health snapshot reveals.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report Australia’s Health 2008 found mental illness is responsible for nearly one-third of health costs for people aged 15-44, yet it receives only 8% of the health budget.
Mental Health Council of Australia CEO David Crosbie said more funding was needed for community support and housing of people with mental illness.
“Early intervention could prevent a crisis situation,” he said.
“All too quickly patients are back into the community before they are ready. Many patients would not be in a hospital setting if there were alternatives.”
Mr Crosbie said the report highlighted that people presenting at hospital with a chronic illness stay on average four times longer if they have a co-existing mental illness.
Professor Phillip Mitchell, Head of the School of Psychiatry at the University of NSW, said the report highlighted the importance of effective communication between GPs and specialist providers of mental health services.
“GPs are at the coalface for first mental health presentations and are therefore critical for effective early recognition and intervention programs.”
KEY CLINICAL FINDINGS
- The gap in death rates between Indigenous infants and other Australian infants is narrowing due to a decline in respiratory and perinatal conditions, but the overall gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous mortality rates appears to be widening
- Cannabis use has declined in people aged 14 and over. In 2007, 9.1% of the population had used the drug in the previous 12 months, down from 12.7% in 1993
- In 2007, 13.4% of people aged 14 and over had used illicit drugs in the previous 12 months, down from 15.3% in 2004. Use of ecstasy increased slightly and was more prevalent than that of methamphetamines, including ice
- Thrombolytics are more effective if administered by paramedics at the scene rather than in hospital.
Source: Australia’s Health 2008