Melbourne, Aug 6 : Australians made more than 10 million health visits last year in a bid to get help for mental health problems, according to a new report.
The report has found that one in every 10 General Practitioner (GP) appointments involve the management of a mental health condition, with a third concerned with depression.
Anxiety was the next most common problem, followed by sleep disturbance.
The expenditure on state and territory mental health services increased by 5.2 per cent a year between 2001 and 2006, and now stands at 2.7 billion dollars, the report stated.
Even the expenditure on specialised psychiatric wards in public acute hospitals and community mental health services both rose by an average of 10 per cent a year over the period.
The report also showed that the number of fulltime staff in mental health facilities also increased by three per cent per year, while prescriptions for antidepressant and antipsychotic medication increased by one per cent annually.
Visits to psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists saw a drastic increase in November 2006 in the wake of a rebate scheme offering discounts for up to 12 visits a year.
"Mental illness is responsible for 13.3 per cent of the total burden of disease in Australia and so is clearly one of the most significant conditions for the nation," News.com.au quoted Jenny Hargreaves, of the institute's economics and health services group, as saying.