Our response to the NHS Information Centre new data on the use of the Mental Health Act

Release Date: 11 October 2011

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

The Foundation welcomed the release of important new data on the use of the Mental Health Act*.

Head of Policy, Simon Lawton-Smith said: "The bad news is that more people are subject to the Mental Health Act. The Act is there for use as a last resort, and the increase suggests we are failing to prevent many people from becoming unwell. We need to do more in terms of promoting good mental health, early intervention and support and good crisis care in the community.

"The stabilising of the rate of imposition of Community Treatment Orders (CTOs)** is expected, following experience in other countries, including Scotland. But so also is the increase in the number of people under a CTO, which is something we need to be very wary of.

"The litmus test is whether CTOs are actually improving the lives of patients and their families. These figures do not answer that key question. The high number of recalls to hospital suggest that for many people the CTO is not successful in keeping people safe and well in the community."

Notes for editors

*Office for National Statistics report: Inpatients formally detained in hospitals under the Mental Health Act 1983 and patients subject to supervised community treatment, Annual figures, England 2010/11: http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/inpatientdetmha1011

**For more information on the initial impact of CTOs, see the Mental Health Alliance’s 2010 Briefing Paper 2, on Supervised Community Treatment: http://www.mentalhealthalliance.org.uk/resources/SCT_briefing_paper.pdf