Access to State-Managed Adult Mental Health Services

Appendix 2: Picturing people’s journeys through the mental health system

Another key part of our analytical approach was to test if it was possible to plot the individual interactions of all people who had accessed the services in our data set. This provided some key findings and other observations, and a proof of concept. This approach could allow for longitudinal and broad analysis of how people had accessed the system. This could be refined by many factors, for instance diagnosis type, service type, delivery organisation, age or region

Figures 12 and 13 show extracts of our analysis, converted into activity plots. Each row represents the service history of 1 person, and each cell represents 1 day. They show part of the range of different ways that people access services.

A detailed extract of the patient activity plot in the OAG data model showing patient access to services

Figure 12 shows access to services by 42 different people over 69 days. White space shows the person did not have an ED, in-patient, or community treatment service contact that day. Light blues cells are mental health related public inpatient stays where a mental health issue was the primary diagnosis. Dark blue cells are non-mental health inpatient stays. Green cells are contact with community treatment services. Red cells show ED presentations where mental health was the main issue. Pink cells show ED presentations for other health issues. Purple cells indicate a specific mental health assessment was recorded. Black cells indicate that the person is deceased.

Figure 13 shows a larger selection from our dataset with which some preliminary analysis was carried out. It has been sorted to show the 500 people with the most time spent in an in-patient setting for a mental health diagnosis over about 3 years of our analysis period. The colour scheme is the same as in the previous figure.

Data model extract of 500 people with most in-patient occupancy in State-managed mental health care 2013-2017

As noted in the report and described in Appendix 1, more than 212,000 people accessed at least one of the 3 types of service captured in these figures. To put that number in some perspective, it would take another 424 illustrations like Figure 13 to include all of them. A supporting report on our analytical approach will give further detail on how we carried out this analytical exercise, and show more examples of the kinds of outcomes this approach can produce.

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