To examine healthcare utilisation patterns in a sample of young people with self-reported experiences of self-harm and/or suicidal behaviours.
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.
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.
Potential underutilisation of MBS MH services by young people with self-harm and/or suicidal behaviours.