A simple concession by a health insurer has uncovered major mental health worries for women in metropolitan Australia.
More broadly, it has indicated that city life can be dangerous to your psychiatric condition.
On April 1 last year Medibank allowed customers to upgrade their policies to cover expensive psychiatric care without first going through a waiting period.
The waiver was quickly taken up by some 1100 customers and by December there were confronting results.
Medibank customers who took advantage of the waiting period waiver have in nine months spent more than 20,000 days in the hospital for urgent mental health care.
That was the accumulated hospital time of 700 customers, and their treatment cost close to $AUD15 million ($NZD15.8m)
Alarmingly, the single largest group who made claims were women aged 30 to 39 living in metropolitan areas who spent an average of 28 days in hospital.
They made up 11 per cent of the 700 — some 77 customers.
People living in metro areas made 72 per cent of the claims, with 27 per cent coming from rural and regional areas.
One in five Australians experience a mental health condition in a given year, and almost one in two will suffer a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime.
Medibank CEO Craig Drummond praised the Federal Government reform which allowed the waiver.
"This highlights the key role the government's reforms have played in strengthening access to acute mental health services," Mr Drummond said.
The cost of the treatment for the 700 waiver customers was just a small part of the mental health outlay.
Medibank spent a total of $AUD193 million on hospital mental health services for customers in the 2018 financial year.
In May last year, news.com.au revealed young people, and young women in particular, were quick to adopt Medibank's waiting period waiver for mental health treatment.
In the first seven weeks of the scheme, 216 Australians took advantage of this waiver. Of these, 58 were under the age of 30. And of those in that age group, 35 were women.
There was also anecdotal evidence from Medibank shopfronts and call centre engagements that mental health was a growing concern for young policyholders.
There are figures showing young people of both sexes were as worried as people in their sixties and seventies about mental illness.
A 2017 Ipsos Healthcare research project involving 1037 Australians found 25 per cent of young people rated mental health as the number one "quality of life" factor.
This was significantly higher than for any other age groups, with the only other cohort ranking it their top health concern being those aged 65 and over.
Medibank offers customers information, advice and support from experienced mental health professionals.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.
If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:
DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354
1737 NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737
SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234