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Publication, Part of

Mental Health Bulletin 2020-21 Annual report

Official statistics, Experimental statistics

Main Findings

These figures show key findings about people known centrally to be in contact with NHS funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services in England during 2020-21. Further figures are available in the reference tables which accompany this publication.

A person is considered to be in contact with services in this publication if they have had an open referral with secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services during 2020-21. This may include referrals which did not result in an attendance with a service or treatment being received.


Changes Over Time

  • 2,803,244 people were known to be in contact with secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services at some point during 2020-21.
  • 768,083 of these were under 18 years of age and 2,029,568 were aged 18 or over
  • Changes in scope, issues with the quality of some submissions and the increase in submitting providers have impacted on the comparability of statistics prior to 2016-17 with 2016-17 onwards. Full details of this can be found in the Making comparisons with previous years section of this report.
  • Statistics for people of all ages prior to 2016-17 are most closely comparable with statistics for people aged 18 or over from 2016-17 onwards due to the inclusion of mental health services for children and young people from this year.

People Aged 18 or over

  • 14.7% of people aged 90 or over (76,495) and 12.4% of people aged between 85 and 89 years old (109,900) and 8.2% of people aged between 80 and 84 years old (119,210) in England were known to be in contact with secondary mental health, learning disabilities or autism services during 2020-21. This will include people in contact with these services because of organic mental health disorders such as dementia. This compares to 5.0% of people of all ages who were known to be in contact with secondary mental health, learning disabilities or autism services during 2020-21.
  • 4.6% of people aged 18 or over (93,944) known to be in contact with secondary mental health, learning disabilities or autism services had spent time admitted as an inpatient as part of their care during 2020-21.

People aged under 18

  • 17.8% of 16 year old females (54,307) and 16.3% of 17 year old females (48,404) in England were known to be in contact with secondary mental health, learning disabilities or autism services during 2020-21. 10.8% of 16 year old males (34,917) and 10.5% of 17 year old males (33,058) in England were known to be in contact with these services.
  • The number of in-year bed days for females aged 16 to 17 known to be in contact with secondary mental health, learning disabilities or autism services during 2020-21 were 151,603. The number of in-year bed days for males aged 16 to 17 known to be in contact with secondary mental health, learning disabilities or autism services during 2020-21 were 35,497. This is compared to 174,821 bed days for females aged 16 to 17 and 44,761 bed days for males aged 16 to 17 in 2019-20.

Changes since March 2020

  • This publication represents a full year of reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2019-20 publication reported data up until 31 March 2020, with lockdown restrictions coming into effect on 26 March 2020.
  • The number of people in contact with services in 2020-21 fell from 2,878,636 in 2019-20 to 2,803,244, a fall of 2.6%.
  • The number of in year bed days recorded fell by 7.5% in 2020-21 when compared to 2019-20. This is also reflected in the number of admissions and discharges in the year. Admissions fell from 123,632 in 2019-20 to 110,420 (-10.7%) and discharges similarly fell from 124,560 to 107,165 (-13.9%).
  • The number of care contacts in 2020-21 increased to 27,765,893 with 86.1% of these being attended contacts. This is compared to 26,608,986 in 2019-20, of which 80.6% of contacts were attended.


Last edited: 24 November 2021 11:05 am