Skip to main content
Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

Publication, Part of

Mental Health Act Statistics, Annual Figures, 2021-22

Official statistics, National statistics

National Statistics

Current Chapter

Mental Health Act Statistics, Annual Figures, 2021-22


This publication contains the official statistics about uses of the Mental Health Act ('the Act') in England during 2021-22.

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. People may be detained in secure psychiatric hospitals, other NHS Trusts or at Independent Service Providers (ISPs). All organisations that detain people under the Act must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In recent years, the number of detentions under the Act have been rising. An independent review has examined how the Act is used and has made recommendations for improving the Mental Health Act legislation.

In responding to the review, the government said it would introduce a new Mental Health Bill to reform practice.

This publication does not cover:

1. People in hospital voluntarily for mental health treatment, as they have not been detained under the Act (see the Mental Health Bulletin).

2. Uses of section 136 where the place of safety was a police station; these are published by the Home Office.

The format of the publication has changed in 2021/22. Please click on each chapter for more information on each area of the Mental Health Act.

Access the code used to create this report

The code used to create the outputs for this report is available on our NHS Digital GitHub webpage.

Click here to access the code

Key Facts

In 2021-22:

  • 53,337 new detentions under the Mental Health Act were recorded, but 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. For the subset of providers that submitted good quality detentions data in each of the last six years, we estimate there was an decrease in detentions of 5.7 per cent from last year. Further information is provided in the Background Data Quality Report.
  • Comparisons can still be made between groups of people using population-based rates, even though the rates shown are based on incomplete data. Known detention rates were higher for males (93.8 per 100,000 population) than females (86.4 per 100,000 population).
  • Amongst 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).
  • Amongst 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).
  • Amongst broad ethnic groups, known rates of CTO use for the ‘Black or Black British’ group (75.5 uses per 100,000 population) were over eleven times the rate for the White group (6.8 uses per 100,000 population).


Last edited: 10 July 2023 1:46 pm