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Mental health team

We collect data on people getting help with mental health problems or in contact with learning disability services, to improve health and care.

Infographic saying 1 in 4 people will suffer mental health problemsData on adults and children referred into NHS services for severe or enduring mental health problems and those referred into Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services is captured within the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) and the IAPT data set. This data has been captured on clinical systems as part of patient care.

These data sets contain information about patients and the services that they received, which is used to improve care and monitor policy initiatives.

The MHSDS covers not only services provided in hospitals, but also in outpatient clinics and in the community, where most of the people in contact with these services are treated.

MHSDS statistics are for anyone wanting a comprehensive national picture of the use of specialist mental health, learning disabilities or autism spectrum disorder services in England, including:

  • policy makers
  • commissioners
  • mental health service users
  • members of the public

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme began in 2008 and has transformed treatment of anxiety disorders and depression in England. Over 900,000 people now access adult IAPT services each year. They are provided with a range of talking therapies and outcomes are measured at each appointment. The IAPT data set captures details about patients, services, therapies and outcome measures.

The mental health team also collects the Assuring Transformation (AT) collection. This collects data about people with learning disabilities or autism who are admitted to hospital. It was set up in reaction to the Winterbourne view scandal. Data is collected to make sure people are not in hospital if they would be better looked after in the community.

It is expected that the AT collection will stop in the future, as MHSDS now includes people in contact with learning disability services.


The MHSDS collects information from service providers and organisations that provide specialist secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder services.

The IAPT data set collects information about patients with depression and anxiety disorders that are offered NICE approved evidence-based psychological therapies.

Assuring Transformation (AT) collects information about people with a learning disability, autism or both who are being cared for or treated in a hospital. Data is collected on how many people are in hospital, how long they have been in hospital for, when their care and treatment is checked and what hospital they are in.


Submissions for MHSDS and IAPT are monthly. Data is submitted through the Open Exeter service portal. Providers have three weeks following the end of the monthly reporting period to submit data for the MHSDS and it then takes us a further three weeks to prepare it for publication.

Data for Assuring Transformation is collected and assembled in the live data collection system Clinical Audit Platform (CAP) from CCGs and commissioning hubs. A cut of the data is taken on the last day of every month. An extra cut is taken every Sunday at midnight.

Analyse and interpret

Mental health data can be analysed and interpreted by our teams and others to generate actionable insights. This analysis can take the form of predictive modelling, benchmarking, surveillance and comparative effectiveness research.


We publish monthly data sets and annual publications for MHSDS and IAPT and monthly and quarterly reports for the assuring transformation data set.

We also produce answers to parliamentary questions, freedom of information requests and other ad hoc data requirements. 

The mental health data hub makes it easier to look at mental health statistics through the use of visualisations and Microsoft Power BI.

Data about out of area placements is collected and published monthly by our audits and registries team.

Providers and commissioners can download record level MHSDS and IAPT extracts for their own populations, by logging into the Bureau Service Portal. Providers can access data quality reports about their submissions directly after they have submitted.

Patient level data can be requested through the Data Access Request Service (DARS).


Data is used for a variety of functions, including commissioning, clinical audit, research, service planning, inspection and regulation, as well as local and national performance management and benchmarking, national reporting and underpinning government policies.

We have started linking MHSDS and IAPT data to other data sets to gain additional insights and follow up the progress of patients. The data enables benchmarking between teams, providers and regions, helping peers to learn from good practice. For example, through the linkage of MHSDS and the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS) we have published exploratory analysis of women in contact with mental health services who were new or expectant mothers.

Last edited: 21 July 2021 3:40 pm