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In response to today’s Health and Social Care Information Centre figures showing a 9.8 per cent increase in the number of people detained under the Mental Health Act in 2014/15, Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“Being detained under the Mental Health Act is very serious and is only done when someone is extremely unwell. Everyone effort should be made to engage people in their care and the Act should only be used as a last resort. We are therefore very concerned to see such a significant jump in the number of people being detained under the Act. It suggests that people are not getting help for their mental health problems early enough, meaning they become more unwell and more likely to reach crisis point.
“This is consistent with numerous reports that NHS mental health services are under huge pressure at the moment and are struggling to cope with the number of people in need of support. NHS mental health services have been underfunded for decades and have suffered cuts over recent years at a time of rising demand.
“We are also concerned that, in some parts of the country, anyone trying to voluntarily admit themselves to hospital is unlikely to get a bed. The beds crisis has been well-documented over recent months and today’s data shows a big increase in the use of private beds to treat people detained under the Mental Health Act. If the NHS is having to use private beds to meet its statutory obligations, it is likely that there aren’t beds routinely available for people not detained under the Act.
“People with mental health problems deserve better. We need to see urgent and significant investment in mental health services to reverse the damage and start getting people the help they need, when they need it.”