New report reveals mental health and care needs in Melbourne’s centre, north and west

  28 June 2024  NWMPHN   

A comprehensive report providing an analysis of the mental health and care needs of the community in Melbourne’s centre, north and west has just been published by North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN).

Called the Mental Health – Health Needs Assessment, its purpose is to guide planning, support discussions and inform strategic partnerships to improve our community’s mental health and wellbeing.

The report is a deep dive into the mental health and care needs of the 1.9 million people living in NWMPHN’s 3,200 square-kilometre catchment, which comprises 13 local government areas.

It synthesises data from various sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics census, mental health-related hospital admissions and emergency department presentations, general practice mental health diagnoses, demand for appointments and community health service use and demand.

Click ↑ to download the Mental Health – Health Needs Assessment

In addition, it includes detailed insights from conversations with more than 170 people, including community members with living experience of mental health issues, carers and representatives from 68 health care organisations.

“We’ve been able to gather data not only across all the different LGAs, but also according to age group, sex, ethnicity, income level and education,” said the executive director of NWMPHN’s Insight, Performance and Digital Services unit, Emma McKeown, who oversaw the project.

“Just as important, we analysed everything according to what are known as the social determinants of health. These are things such as the geographic environment, access to services, food security, language skills and housing.

“These non-medical factors play a huge role in influencing mental health.”

The Mental Health – Health Needs Assessment is available free from NWMPHN’s website, together with a supplement with more detailed data and analysis.

“This report is very important for us as commissioners of mental health services across the region,” said NWMPHN’s executive director for Service Development and Reform, Jag Dhaliwal.

“We work closely with the government and a broad range of organisations, and it is a key tool in showing us where mental services are most needed.

“It allows us, with the broader health care sector, to allocate resources more efficiently and economically, delivering better care to the people who need it, and driving value for taxpayer money at the same time.”

To download a copy of the Mental Health – Health Needs Assessment go to this page.