Mental health network

Troubling rise in detention rates shows urgent need for Mental Health Act reform

Sean Duggan, chief executive, Mental Health Network

Responding to NHS Digital’s annual Mental Health Act statistics for 2018-19, Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:
 
“Another rise in detention rates and a startling disparity in the experience of different ethnic groups, with individuals from the black population more than four times as likely to be detained than those from the white population, is deeply troubling. This shows that there is more to do around providing preventive services for all communities the NHS cares for.
 
“It has been clear for some time that the Mental Health Act needs refreshing in order to give the best and most appropriate care to people who have reached the point of crisis. We fed in the views of mental health providers during the review and will continue to do this during the implementation of the recommendations.
 
“The Government’s pledge in the Queen’s Speech to update the law was a big stride forward. With the new bill, it is important that we increase choice and call a halt to years of rising detention rates, with service users given a greater opportunity to have a say in their care. We need to ensure that gaps in terms of inequalities in access and outcomes are stamped out.
 
“And it is important that reform of the act is part of the bigger picture. Any change in the law needs to be backed up with investment. We need to be able to provide better care to people before they reach crisis point, have the right social care in place to keep people well and ensure funding goes into staffing and improving our outdated estates.”

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