Published Papers - Abstract 723

Dolja-Gore X, Loxton D, D'Este C & Byles J. Mental health service use: Is there a difference between rural and Non-rural women in service uptake? The Australian Journal of Rural Health, 2014; 22(3): 92-100

This study examines differences in uptake of the Medicare items rolled out in 2006 under the 'Better Access Scheme' (BAS) between rural and non-rural Australian women. It compares differences in women's uptake of the BAS services by area of residence (ARIA+) across time using the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health (ALSWH) survey data linked to Medicare data. Women aged 28-33 years at the time the BAS was introduced that responded to the self-reported question on depression/anxiety and consented to linkage of their survey data with Medicare data (n?=?4316). Participants were grouped by ARIA+?according to BAS use, diagnoses of anxiety/depression but no BAS use and other eligible women. Across all areas, women born 1973-1978 with a self-reported diagnosis of depression/anxiety or having treatment under the BAS had a significantly lower mean mental health score compared to other women. Significantly more women living in non-rural areas had used at least one service provided under the BAS initiative compared to women in outer regional, inner regional or remotes areas (21% versus 18% versus 13% versus 7%, respectively), and across all areas, 12% of women reported having a diagnosis of depression/anxiety but not been treated under the BAS. While there is a gradual uptake of the new BAS services, a large percentage of women who have a diagnosis of depression/anxiety have not been treated under the BAS. The data suggest that women in urban areas have been better able to take up the services compared to non-urban women.