Use of Medicare Benefit Scheme mental health services in young people who experienced self-harm and/or suicidal behaviours: Data from the Young Minds Matter survey
Chitty, K.M., Sawyer, M.G., Carter, G., & Lawrence, D.
Objectives: To examine healthcare utilisation patterns in a sample of young people with self-reported experiences of self-harm and/or suicidal behaviours. Methods: A national survey examining mental health in a nationally representative sample of young Australians aged 12–17 years, linked to routinely collected healthcare and dispensing data. For respondents that self-reported experience of self-harm, suicidal ideation, suicidal plan and/or suicide attempt, we assessed attendance at a Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) subsidised MH service or non-MH general practitioner (GP) attendance at three time periods: 1) ever, 2) in the 12 months prior to completing the survey and 3) after completing the survey until 31 Dec 2015.We also assessed correlates associated with attendance and non-attendance at a MH service. Results: The study included 311 young people. MH services were attended in the 12 months before the survey by 38.3% with attempted suicide, 28.7% with a suicidal plan, 28.9% with suicidal ideation and 29.4% with self harm. MH treatment administered by a GP was the most common MH service (25%); followed treatment by psychologist (15%) and psychiatrist (5%). Attendance at a MH service was observed highest alongside more severe self-reported depression. Conclusions: Potential underutilisation of MBS MH services by young people with self-harm and/or suicidal behaviours.