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Psychiatr Serv ; : appips20220345, 2022 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2138394


OBJECTIVE: The authors aimed to evaluate changes in use of government-subsidized primary mental health services, through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), by young people during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia and whether changes were associated with age, sex, socioeconomic status, and residence in particular geographical areas. METHODS: Interrupted time-series analyses were conducted by using quarterly mental health MBS service data (all young people ages 12-25 years, 2015-2020) for individual Statistical Area Level 3 areas across Australia. The data captured >22.4 million service records. Meta-analysis and meta-regression models estimated the pandemic interruption effect at the national level and delineated factors influencing these estimates. RESULTS: Compared with expected prepandemic trends, a 6.2% (95% CI=5.3%-7.2%) increase was noted for all young people in use of MBS mental health services in 2020. Substantial differences were found between age and sex subgroups, with a higher increase among females and young people ages 18-25. A decreasing trend was observed for males ages 18-25 (3.5% reduction, 95% CI=2.5%-4.5%). The interruption effect was strongly associated with socioeconomic status. Service uptake increased in areas of high socioeconomic status, with smaller or limited uptake in areas of low socioeconomic status. CONCLUSIONS: During 2020, young people's use of primary mental health services increased overall. However, increases were inequitably distributed and relatively low, compared with increases in population-level mental health burden. Policy makers should address barriers to primary care access for young people, particularly for young males and those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.

PLoS One ; 17(7): e0271023, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1951549


OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to explore current data collection and feedback practice, in the form of monitoring and evaluation, among youth mental health (YMH) services and healthcare commissioners; and to identify barriers and enablers to this practice. DESIGN: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted via Zoom videoconferencing software. Data collection and analysis were informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF). Data were deductively coded to the 14 domains of the TDF and inductively coded to generate belief statements. SETTING: Healthcare commissioning organisations and YMH services in Australia. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty staff from healthcare commissioning organisations and twenty staff from YMH services. RESULTS: The umbrella behaviour 'monitoring and evaluation' (ME) can be sub-divided into 10 specific sub-behaviours (e.g. planning and preparing, providing technical assistance, reviewing and interpreting data) performed by healthcare commissioners and YMH services. One hundred belief statements relating to individual, social, or environmental barriers and enablers were generated. Both participant groups articulated a desire to improve the use of ME for quality improvement and had particular interest in understanding the experiences of young people and families. Identified enablers included services and commissioners working in partnership, data literacy (including the ability to set appropriate performance indicators), relational skills, and provision of meaningful feedback. Barriers included data that did not adequately depict service performance, problems with data processes and tools, and the significant burden that data collection places on YMH services with the limited resources they have to do it. CONCLUSIONS: Importantly, this study illustrated that the use of ME could be improved. YMH services, healthcare commissioners should collaborate on ME plans and meaningfully involve young people and families where possible. Targets, performance indicators, and outcome measures should explicitly link to YMH service quality improvement; and ME plans should include qualitative data. Streamlined data collection processes will reduce unnecessary burden, and YMH services should have the capability to interrogate their own data and generate reports. Healthcare commissioners should also ensure that they provide meaningful feedback to their commissioned services, and local and national organisations collecting youth mental health data should facilitate the sharing of this data. The results of the study should be used to design theory-informed strategies to improve ME use.

Mental Health Services , Adolescent , Data Collection , Delivery of Health Care , Feedback , Humans , Mental Health , Qualitative Research