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Mind responds to Mental Health Act Annual Statistics

Friday, 28 October 2022 Mind

Official annual statistics about the uses of the Mental Health Act in England during 2021-22 have been published by the NHS.

Under the Act, people with mental health problems can be formally detained in hospital (or 'sectioned') in the interests of their own health or safety, or for the protection of others. They can also be treated in the community, but subject to recall to hospital for assessment and/or treatment under a Community Treatment Order (CTO).

Responding to the statistics, Paul Spencer, Head of Health, Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said:

“Although detentions under the Mental Health Act have fallen by about 6%, overall numbers remain consistently high, with more than 50,000 (53,337) people detained in 2021-22. More people than ever in recent years have reached breaking point and need urgent care for their mental health.

“Despite more and more people facing mental health crises, the number of psychiatric beds in NHS hospitals has fallen by a quarter since 2010, dropping from 23,447 to 17,610 last year. Alongside huge care backlogs, lengthy waiting lists, a crumbling mental health estate and a deepening cost-of-living crisis, many of us are finding it harder than ever to get the care we need when at our lowest.

“We are also extremely concerned to see outcomes worsen for specific groups, including some ethnic minorities and those living in the most deprived areas of the country. Rates of Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) have continued to rise among Black people, rising to over 11 times the rate for white patients. Similarly, the data also revealed that detentions in the most deprived areas are over 3 and a half times higher than those in the least deprived areas – a further increase on last year.

“It is simply unacceptable that Black people and those of us living in less well-off areas face greater rates of detention. These figures paint a damning picture of the hurdles faced by marginalised groups in navigating the mental health system – which should be there to meet the needs of all of us– and illustrate how overdue reforms to the Mental Health Act and wider mental health system are.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that we take steps to address the failings in care that lead to too many people facing crisis. We must make the most of once-in-a-generation reforms to the Mental Health Act, which aim to give people greater say over the treatment they receive when at their most unwell. This should include abolishing CTOs, which are coercive, stigmatic and fail to reduce readmissions.  We also need the UK Government to commit to delivering its ten-year mental health plan to ensure people are supported before they reach crisis. And we urgently need a public inquiry into systemic failings of inpatient mental health services across England, after shocking footage from BBC Panorama, Channel 4’s Dispatches, and today new appalling allegations have emerged from hospitals run by The Huntercombe Group.”

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