Queensland: Experts believe that GIS technology can help high-risk mental health demographics by prioritising Australia’s $20 billion annual spend.
New figures show that 45% of Australians aged 16-85 years will experience a common mental health-related condition. According to Esri Australia GIS in Health specialist Damien Cassin GIS can analyse specific characteristics of a mental health ‘hot-spot’, such as socio-economic and environmental factors – to determine what services and programs need to be implemented to support vulnerable demographics. Cassin was addressing the 14th International Mental Health Conference in Queensland. “By using GIS technology to identify where people are suffering with mental health problems – we can then start to investigate why this is occurring and determine the actions required to address the situation,” said Cassin.
Cassin said in addition to finding service gaps, GIS technology can help support the 4.5 million Australians affected each year by detecting locations which require more mental health education and health literature. GIS has also been identified as a tool which can provide greater transparency on government decisions in relation to mental health funding, and Cassin said the technology could help members of the community better understand service surplus and deficits across the country.