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Mental Health Act – Facts and Statistics

Norfolk and Norwich university hospital

The Mental Health Act is a law which helps doctors decide if a person with a mental health problem needs to be kept in hospital. Patients detained under the act are often said to have been sectioned. Patients can be detained in the interests of their own health or safety, or for the protection of other people. 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).

How many people have been detained?

Between April 1st 2018 and March 31st 2019 people were detained under the Mental Health Act 49,988 times. Some of these detentions may be related to the same patient who have been detained more than once.

Data seen in the annual figures produced by the NHS and the Office of National Statistics show that for every 100,000 men in the UK 91.4 have been sectioned at some point during 2018-19. While 83.2 women per 100,000 were sectioned. Amongst adults, detention rates tend to decline with age, detention rates for the 18-34 age group stand at 128.9 per 100,000 people. This is around a third higher than for those aged 50-64, with 89.0 per 100,000 being detained.

Analysis shows that in 2018-19, 84.5% of detained people were only detained once, a further 15.5% of these went on to be detained again. Only 2.5% had to be detained more than twice. These results are very similar to last year, which suggest that repeated detention for the same people are not a major factor in the rising levels of detention in England.

This also goes to show that the detention method used by doctors to help those in need of care works with just under 70% of people not being detained more than once.

Looking to the future

The Mental Health Act is likely to become more and more prominent in coming years as the health and social services aiming to better protect the vulnerable people in communities across the UK. Sectioning patients can not only help protect patients at their most vulnerable times but also help them make a recovery and enable them to be allowed back into the community.

We believe that as a country we need to combat the underlying issues that cause people to pose a risk to themselves or others around them. Only then will we see the numbers start to decline but unfortunately that’s likely to be some time away.

Source: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-act-statistics-annual-figures/2018-19-annual-figures

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