Key findings include:
• The use of the Mental Health Act continues to rise, with 49,988 new detentions recorded for 2018/19.
• Black people were four times more likely to be detained under the Act than White people, and are more likely be given Community Treatment Orders
• Mental healthcare providers are failing to protect the human rights of some people who are sectioned
Responding to the report:
Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, the mental health charity, says:
“This is indisputable evidence that our mental healthcare system is on its knees. It is disgraceful that people are dying because of a lack of beds, more people are being detained under the Mental Health Act than ever before and Black people are still four times more likely to be sectioned than White people. These deep injustices are among the multitude of reasons why mental health legislation needs a complete overhaul.
“It is equivalent to negligence that there has been a fall in the number of mental health beds without an alternative in place. The expansion of community mental health services can’t come soon enough. In the meantime providers must do whatever it takes to ensure people get the right care at the right time.
“It is unforgivable that people’s human rights are not being respected when they are detained. Too many people are being unnecessarily segregated and enduring unjustifiable restrictions on their freedom, even after they have left hospital. Complex overlaps in different parts of the law are also leaving families confused and lacking the right protections. We must see the limitations placed on people’s freedom being regularly reviewed and the UK Government has to address the mess of mental health legislation.
“The urgency of reforming the Mental Health Act cannot be overstated. In recent weeks the Health Secretary has asserted that he is prioritising mental health and yet we are still waiting for the Government to formally respond to the Mental Health Act Review, with its delayed White Paper fast becoming a pipe dream. The measure of this country is how it treats us when we are at our most vulnerable. We expect our Government to meet that test. Further delay is simply not an option.”