This publication contains the official statistics about uses of the Mental Health Act(1) ('the Act') in England during 2019-20.
Under the Act, people with a mental disorder may be formally detained in hospital (or 'sectioned') in the interests of their own health or safety, or for the protection of other people. They can also be treated in the community but subject to recall to hospital for assessment and/or treatment under a Community Treatment Order (CTO).
In 2016-17, the way we source and produce these statistics changed. Previously these statistics were produced from the KP90 aggregate data collection. They are now primarily produced from the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS). The MHSDS provides a much richer data source for these statistics, allowing for new insights into uses of the Act.
However, some providers that make use of the Act are not yet submitting data to the MHSDS, or submitting incomplete data. Improvements in data quality have been made over the past year. NHS Digital is working with partners to ensure that all providers are submitting complete data and this publication includes guidance on interpreting these statistics.
Please note: This publication covers the 2019-20 reporting year and, as such, will feature the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in England; however, it is likely the impact of COVID-19 will be more evident in the 2020-21 publication as the national lockdown began on 23 March 2020. The time series data for people subject to detention does show a decrease in people subject to detention in March 2020 so the context of COVID-19 should be kept in mind when using and interpreting these statistics.
A correction has been made to this publication on 27 October 2020. This amendment relates to rates of detention on page 14 of the Summary Report. This has now been corrected and the replacement file uploaded. NHS Digital apologises for any inconvenience caused.
(1) The Mental Health Act 1983 as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007 and other legislation.