Mental distress is rising, especially for low-income middle-aged women. Medicare needs a major shakeup to match need

Stephen Duckett, Graham Meadows

Research output: Other contributionOther


Mental health services are poorly targeted, outcomes are getting worse, and out-of-pocket payments are increasing. The new government faces a tough challenge in improving mental health.

This year marks 30 years since the first national mental health policy. The latest national mental health and suicide prevention plan is the sixth of its kind. But services are increasingly fragmented and chaotic and the number of people reporting very high psychological distress was rising even before COVID.

Medicare spending and out-of-pocket mental health-care costs are increasing but those most needing care aren’t getting it: mental health services use goes up in better-off areas where mental health-care needs are lower. A new government needs to address this mental health triple-whammy of spending, costs and areas of need.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022

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