Our response to the 2022-23 Mental Health Act statistics

25 January 2024

The NHS has today (25 January 2024) released its annual figures about the Mental Health Act for the 2022-23 period. Here is our response to the statistics, with the headline being that there were 51,312 detentions.

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness:

“The data released today creates a feeling of déja vu. While it’s good to see the number of detentions under the Mental Health Act have dropped slightly, they remain devastatingly high, with the statistics highlighting the lack of progress made to tackle the inequalities entrenched in our mental health system.

“It is particularly disappointing to see the slow progress for Black and Black British people who are more likely to have their lives put on hold through detention under the Mental Health Act, with a small increase in detentions for people in other ethnic groups. Meanwhile, the higher rates of detention in deprived areas remind us of the devastating impact of poverty on people’s mental health, particularly during the cost of living crisis.

“With the government failing to honour its commitment to reform this archaic legislation, the consistently high number of detentions and inequalities represented in these statistics remain deeply frustrating. Reform is vital, however, new legislation alone won’t be enough to create the change we need to see. We urgently need greater investment in social care and community services to prevent people from falling into crisis, with a particular focus on improving the factors that lead to racialised communities being detained.”