An Analysis of the Department of Health’s Data Relating to State-Managed Adult Mental Health Services from 2013 to 2017


Auditor General’s overview

Good mental health and well-being is not the absence of a mental health condition. It is the ability for each and every West Australian to participate in society. To provide people with the opportunity to participate and contribute fruitfully, mental health services need to be aligned to individual needs. In part, this means that services should support people staying in the lowest intensity of care unless they need to access a more intense mental health care setting.

My August 2019 audit report Access to State-Managed Adult Mental Health Services found that WA Health and the Mental Health Commission (MHC) had a limited understanding of how people accessed services. This was made clear when we asked ‘How many people access mental health care?’, and WA Health and MHC could not tell us with any certainty. Because of this we undertook a unique data exercise to answer that question. The key results from the data analysis were included in the audit report. However, there was much more that the data could tell us. The objective of this report is to share more detail on the data analysis, some of which may be of use to WA Health and the MHC.

The data analysis was initially constructed to specifically address the audit scope. However, the uniqueness and complexity of the analysis converted the model into a proof of concept for WA Health. Since our report was tabled, our data model has been shared with the Department of Health so they may develop it and broaden its usefulness.

Page last updated: October 9, 2019

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