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Hospital Settings

People with mental health problems may require hospitalisation from time to time. However,  inpatient admissions to mental health wards represent a very small number of people with mental illness.


Consumers can receive specialised psychiatric care in a psychiatric hospital or in a psychiatric unit within a hospital. As it is not possible to determine how many separations an individual consumer has had, the statistics below describe separation event numbers, not consumer numbers (AIHW, 2014) (i.e. if someone went to hospital twice in one year, then they would be recorded here twice).


Statistics (AIHW, 2014):


  • Of the 241,389 admitted patient mental health-related separations in 2012–13, 60.9% (146,935) were provided with specialised psychiatric care.

  • Involuntary admissions accounted for 29.5% of mental health-related separations with specialised psychiatric care.

  • The largest numbers and highest rates of mental health-related separations with specialised psychiatric care were for patients aged 35–44 years (31,191 or 9.7 per 1,000 population).

  • Depressive episode and schizophrenia were the most commonly reported principal diagnoses for separations with specialised psychiatric care (17.0% and 14.5% respectively).

  • Allied health intervention–social work, is the most commonly reported procedure for both separations with and without specialised care (21.8% and 14.4% respectively).


Placement opportunities:

  • There are increasing placement opportunities for exercise physiology students in acute mental health wards in the Sydney metro region and regional NSW.

  • Watch this clip of footage from the ABC documentary series, Changing Minds, to see an example of what an inpatient mental health facility looks like. 







  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2004, Health: Mental Health, accessed 22 November 2015, Available from: <>

  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Mental health services—in brief 2014. Cat. no. HSE 154. Canberra: AIHW. Available from:

  3. ABC TV (2014) Changing minds: words around the ward. Available from: (accessed on 27/11/2015)

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