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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Mental Health Act Statistics, Annual Figures: 2016-17, Experimental statistics

Official statistics, National statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Mental Health Trusts, NHS Trusts, Independent Sector Health Care Providers, Hospital Trusts, Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships
Date Range:
01 Apr 2012 to 31 Mar 2017


This publication contains the official statistics about uses of the Mental Health Act1 ('The Act') in England during 2016/17.

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).

Last year, we announced changes to the way we source and produce these statistics2 . Previously these statistics were produced from the KP90 aggregate data collection. They are now produced from the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS). This change is estimated to save the NHS over £350,000 per year.

The MHSDS provides a much richer data source for these statistics, allowing for new insights into uses of The Act. Some of these new insights are shown in this publication.

However, some providers are not yet submitting data, or submitting incomplete data and so figures must be interpreted with caution. Data completeness is still improving and further guidance is provided.

As announced in last year's report, the name of this publication has also changed. Previously it was named 'Inpatients formally detained in hospitals under the Mental Health Act 1983 and patients subject to Supervised Community Treatment'.

UPDATE – 10 September 2018: Corrections have been made to the published numbers of people detained at 31 March 2017. There are no changes to any counts of detentions in the publication, only to counts of people detained at 31 March 2017. Updates have been made to Table 5 of the Data Tables. The CSV file and references in the Summary Report and Background Data Quality report have also been corrected. NHS Digital apologises for any inconvenience caused.


1 The Mental Health Act 1983 as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007 and other legislation.

2 Announced in the special feature produced as part of the 2015/16 publication


In 2016/17:

  • The way these statistics are sourced and produced has changed. Coverage is also incomplete this year. As a result 2016/17 figures are not directly comparable to previous years. 45,864 new detentions were recorded in 2016/17 and 4,966 new Community Treatment Orders (CTOs), but the overall national totals will be higher as not all providers submitted data. For the subset of providers that submitted good quality1 detentions data in both 2015/16 and 2016/17, we estimate there was an increase in detentions of around 2 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 data2. Known detention rates were higher for males (83.2 per 100,000 population) than females (76.1 per 100,000 population).
  • Amongst adults, detention rates tend to decline with age. Known detention rates for the 18-34 age group (111.3 detentions per 100,000 population) were around a third higher than for those aged 50-64 (81.7 per 100,000 population). But rates rose again for the 65+ age group (96.5 per 100,000 population).
  • Amongst the five broad ethnic groups, known rates of detention for the 'Black or Black British' group (272.1 detentions per 100,000 population) were over four times those of the White group (67.0 per 100,000 population).
  • Known rates of CTO use for males (11.4 per 100,000 population) were almost twice the rate for females (6.6 per 100,000 population). Across age groups, those aged 35-49 had the highest rate of CTO use (15.6 known uses per 100,000 population compared to 9.0 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 (60.1 uses per 100,000 population) were almost nine times the rate for the White group (6.8 uses per 100,000 population).




1 See the Summary Report and the Background Data Quality Report
2 See the 'Accuracy and Reliability' section of the Background Data Quality Report


Access the Mental Health Act Statistics, Annual Figures 2016/17: Interactive Data Visualisations.

This tool is in Microsoft PowerBI which does not fully support all accessibility needs. If you need further assistance, contact us for help.


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Last edited: 25 May 2021 10:38 am