Rethink Mental Illness concerned at deep inequality in Mental Health Act detentions

27 October 2022

The NHS has released data on how the Mental Health Act was used in 2021-22. The Mental Health Act is the legislation which allows for people experiencing a mental health crisis to be detained in hospital.

Lucy Schonegevel, Associate Director of Policy and Practice at Rethink Mental Illness, said:

“Every person represented in these statistics is someone whose life has been put on hold due to severe mental illness, and it’s frustrating that the number of people being detained remains so high. The figures highlight the inequalities entrenched in mental healthcare, and we’re deeply concerned that the rate of black people being detained when in crisis compared to white people has increased yet again. The data also shows those living in the most deprived areas are hospitalised at the greatest rate, which is especially alarming amid a cost of living crisis. This inequality should stop policy makers in their tracks and spur action so everyone has an equal chance at recovery.

“There has been progress towards reform of the Mental Health Act to ensure people have greater say in their treatment and care, but we need a recommitment from the current government that this will remain a priority. However, reform alone won’t be enough to improve the lives of people experiencing mental illness. We need urgent investment in social care and community services to ensure people are prevented from falling into crisis in the first place.”