• mental illness;
  • service utilisation;
  • unmet need;
  • met non-need;
  • Australia
  • I18;
  • I19

Evidence of poor correspondence between resources and “need” in mental health sectors is accumulating. This non-correspondence relates to the tendency for some people with mental disorders not to receive services and some people without mental disorders to use services subsidised under Medicare. Time-series Australian data are examined here and an appropriate approach is applied to measure the correspondence of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) epidemiological surveys of mental disorders and the enumeration of consumers of mental health services under Medicare. The extent of this “structural imbalance” is determined to be extensive. This result reflects a sector beset with incomplete information. Diagnostic efficacy, and funding efficacious processes, is vital economically for the allocation of scarce mental health resources, not just clinically for efficacious therapy. Relevant policy is yet to be formulated.