Improving mental health inequality? Some initial evidence from Australia
This study statistically analyses the location and distribution of some aspects of mental health in Queensland. The health status measured here is not the conventional 'count' approach, i.e. counting people diagnosed with/without illness, but rather an approach that was developed in the context of mortality, by Silber and subsequently Le Grand. The present context is morbidity. We measure the years lived free of serious mental illness, for people who subsequently contract these illnesses. A complete enumeration dataset (i.e. not a sample), namely, the Queensland hospital admissions dataset commencing in 1964, is available. Specific illness codings are for conditions so consistently serious that hospital admission invariably occurred throughout the 40-year period. The present study is partial, but has two major advantages. First, the measure incorporates the notion that the later in life is the onset of serious mental illness, the better. Second, although age distribution measurement is not possible with 'count' data, it is possible with this approach. Inequality measures, such as the Gini coefficient, are applied to measure the inequality in the distribution. Time series on mental health and mental health inequality, for males and females, are thus generated and statistically analysed.
Applied Economics Letters