OBJECTIVES: To examine trends in ED presentations with a mental health diagnosis (MHdx ) in Australia by jurisdiction and by sex, between 2004-05 and 2016-17.
METHODS: Data were captured in the National Non-Admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database. Outcomes were the proportion of ED presentations with a principal diagnosis of ICD-10-AM F00-F99 (MHdx ), and the rate of all ED and MHdx presentations per 10 000 population.
RESULTS: Between 2004-05 and 2016-17, MHdx presentations experienced compounding annual growth of 5.9% nationally, and increased from 3.3% to 3.7% of all ED presentations with a diagnosis. Most growth occurred between 2010-11 and 2015-16. Northern Territory (NT) had the highest level of MHdx presentations per 10 000 population, more than double the Australian average. The proportion of MHdx presentations was highest in South Australia (SA) in most years, and the average annual proportion of MHdx presentations was statistically significantly higher than the national average in SA, Queensland (QLD) and Western Australia (WA). The proportion of MHdx presentations increased in each jurisdiction, with significant increases for Victoria, QLD, WA, Australian Capital Territory and NT. Males experienced greater numbers and rates of all ED and MHdx presentations, while the proportion of MHdx presentations was 8% higher for females.
CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of ED presentations for MH conditions, narrowly defined, has increased in all Australian jurisdictions between 2004-05 and 2016-17, but particularly since 2010-11. Differences between jurisdictions indicate jurisdictional specific issues. However, significant or upward trend of MHdx presentations across all jurisdictions indicates generic issues necessitating concern and policy development at a national level.
- emergency department
- health service research
- mental health