The ABS today released the 2020-21 Patient Experiences in Australia Report and as expected given the year that 2020-21 was from a medical point of view there are some interesting insights here across medical visitations to waiting times and barriers. But the one thing that caught our eye, was the issue around mental health.
The main question in the survey is asking people if they "Needed to see a mental health professional", so not a true reflection of how many people suffer from mental health, but rather those that feel they may need intervention and within this survey are some interesting and concerning insights emerged.
The total percentage of people that said they "Needed to see a mental health professional" was 17.3%. That statistic is a little scary but unfortunately it wasn't the scariest of the insights we found in this analysis. Of those people, 8.9% DID NOT see a mental health professional despite admitting to needing to and 25.4% of them DELAYED seeing a health professional.
Let's break these numbers so they make a bit of sense. If you are at a party with 100 people, statistically speaking, 17 of them believe they need mental health assistance, with 15 of them having already sort help, leaving those 2 people to be aware of their mental health needs but untreated.
When we look at demographics, there are some clear skews which are alarming as well. Essentially the younger the person, the more likely they feel they need to see a mental health professional. 23.1% of people aged 15-24 said they needed to see a mental health professional as well as 20.8% of People 25-34.
Combining those groups together (looking at People 15-34), 10% DID NOT see a mental health professional at all (8.9% total average) and 31.4% of them DELAYED seeing a health professional (25.4% total average).
From a gender point of view, there seems to be a big gap - Of the Total 17.3% of the survey that said they needed to see a mental health professional 64% were Women and 36% were Men.
When seeking to find how these numbers all compare year on year, we found that these questions around mental health were not included in the 2019-20 Patient Experiences in Australia report, which perhaps demonstrates that it has become more of an issue now and addressing the size of the issue through surveys and data has never been more important.
And whilst here at InsightOut Data Solutions we do not pretend to know anything about Mental Health, we do feel that even without a benchmark from previous years, the numbers are not ideal and ultimately need to improve.
Now more than ever, there are many avenues for individuals to seek mental health advise and also for individuals to check in on their friends, because the key insight to this ABS survey is that if you are in a group of five friends, statistically speaking, one of you will be feeling the need for mental health assistance and that person will have a 30% chance of delaying that assistance and 10% chance of not getting that assistance at all.
Link to full ABS Patient Experiences Australia 2020-21 Report