Luka Kauzlaric

10 million Aussies use Medicare for mental health

MORE than two million Australians got help for mental health issues through Medicare last year, attending nearly 10 million appointments.

New data on mental health services, released yesterday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, showed the subsidised mental health-related services were provided by general practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists and allied health professionals.

The figures showed most patients who accessed subsidised mental health help in the 2014-15 financial year attended about five appointments.

It also showed demand for Medicare-subsidised mental health services grew an average of slightly more than 6% a year for five years, or 34% between 2009-10 and 2014-15.

While GPs provided the most services to patients, demand for Medicare-subsidised visits with clinical psychologists grew 8% a year - or about 60% during that period.

Women made up 54-62% of all patients.

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