NHS Digital
Printable version

Decrease in detentions under Mental Health Act from 2020-21 to 2021-22: statistical press release

The number of detentions under the Mental Health Act in England decreased by 5.7 per cent from 2020-21 to 2021-22, a new report by NHS Digital shows.

The Mental Health Act Statistics 2021-2022 publication provides Official Statistics about people with a mental disorder who are detained (or ‘sectioned’) under the Act in hospital, in the interests of their own health or safety, or for the protection of others. It covers people in secure psychiatric hospitals, other NHS trusts and independent providers1.

In 2021-2022, 53,337 new detentions under the Mental Health Act were recorded but the overall number will be higher. Not all providers submitted data and some submitted incomplete data2.

From the providers that submitted good quality data, there was an estimated decrease in detentions of 5.7 per cent from 2020-21 to 2021-223.

For the first time, this publication includes data relating to count and crude rate4 per 100,000 population of all detentions at combined Sustainability and Transformation Partnership5 and demographic (age, gender, ethnicity and deprivation) breakdowns.

The publication also shows:

  • Detention rates were higher for males (93.8 per 100,000 population) than females (86.4 per 100,000 population).
  • Among adults, detention rates tend to decline with age. Known detention rates for the 18 to 34 age group (144.2 detentions per 100,000 population) were around 67% higher than for those aged 65+ (86.3 per 100,000 population).
  • Among the five broad ethnic groups, known rates of detention for the Black or Black British group (341.7 detentions per 100,000 population) were over four times those of the White group (72.4 per 100,000 population).
  • Known rates of Community Treatment Order (CTO) use for males (12.4 per 100,000 population) were higher than the rate for females (7.3 per 100,000 population). Across age groups, those aged 35 to 49 had the highest rate of CTO use (16.4 known uses per 100,000 population compared to 9.8 uses per 100,000 population for all age groups).
  • Among broad ethnic groups, known rates of CTO use for the Black or Black British group (75.5 uses per 100,000 population) were over 11 times the rate for the White group (6.8 uses per 100,000 population).

Read the full report: Mental Health Act Statistics 2021-2022

Notes for editors

  1. This publication does not cover:
    - People in hospital voluntarily for mental health treatment, as they have not been detained under the Act (see the Mental Health Bulletin).
    - Uses of section 136 where the place of safety was a police station; these are published by the Home Office.

  2. The overall national totals will be higher. Not all providers submitted data, and some submitted incomplete data. Trend comparisons are also affected by changes in data quality. Further information is provided in the Background Data Quality Report.

  3. The headline detention figures for 2021-22 are up 0.2 per cent from last year. This does not represent the true change in detentions due to changes in data quality. Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) data quality (as the main data source) has improved Acute providers making separate Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS) returns has increased. In order to provide a like-for-like comparison to last year’s figures, we have limited our analysis to a smaller group of 24 providers (23 NHS and 1 independent). These providers all submitted data to KP90 in 2015-16. They all remained open to 2021-22, and submitted 12 months’ data about the Act to the MHSDS during each annual period. In addition, our ongoing investigations did not reveal any significant data quality issues in their MHSDS data about the Act. Using this methodology, our estimate for the true change in detentions from 2020-21 to 2021-22 is a decrease of 5.7 per cent. The following measures are included in the comparison:
    - Detentions on admission
    - Detentions following admission (We have not included detentions following use of section 136 and revocation of community treatment orders as completeness for these measures are affected by different factors)

  4. A crude rate is the general term for a rate that isn't standardised for demographics such as age, ethnicity or gender.

  5. A Sustainability and Transformation Partnership is where local NHS organisations and Local Authorities draw up shared proposals to improve health and care in the geographic areas they serve. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships evolved into Integrated Care Systems (ICS) in 2022.

  6. Comparisons can still be made between groups of people using population-based rates, even though the rates shown are based on incomplete data.

  7. People treated under a Community Treatment Order (CTO) are subject to recall to hospital for assessment and/or treatment.

Channel website: https://digital.nhs.uk

Original article link: https://digital.nhs.uk/news/2022/decrease-in-detentions-under-mental-health-act-from-2020-21-to-2021-22

Share this article

Latest News from
NHS Digital