Detentions under the Mental Health Act in England for black people four times higher than for white people

Health / Wed 28th Oct 2020 at 08:03am

THE rate of detentions under the Mental Health Act in England for black or black British people was more than four times higher than for white people in 2019-20, a new report shows.

Mental Health Act Statistics 2019-20, published by NHS Digital, provides the official statistics about people with a mental disorder who are detained under the Act in hospital, in the interests of their own health or for the safety and protection of others. It covers people in secure psychiatric hospitals, other NHS trusts and independent providers.

The publication includes a breakdown by broad ethnic groups, which shows that for the black or black British group, there were 321.7 detentions per 100,000 population, compared to 73.4 per 100,000 population for the white group.

In total 50,893 new detentions under the Mental Health Act were recorded in 2019-20 in England, but the overall number will be higher. Not all providers submitted data and some submitted incomplete data2.

There was a slight increase in the number of new detentions compared to 2018-19, when 49,988 were recorded. However, changes in data quality affect comparisons over time. Using the subset of providers that submitted good quality3 detentions data in each of the last three years, we estimate there was a 0.8 per cent increase in detentions from 2018-19 to 2019-204.

For the first time, this publication includes data relating to detentions under the Act broken down by deprivation5. Rates of detentions in the most deprived areas (147.9 per 100,000 population) were almost three and a half times higher than the rate of detention in the least deprived areas (42.8 per 100,000).

The 2019-20 publication also includes comparisons based on age and sex using population-based rates.

Known detention rates were higher for men (91.8 per 100,000 population) than women (84.4 per 100,000 population).

The age group with the highest rate of detentions was 18 to 34 year olds (129.8 detentions per 100,000 population). The rate decreased through the age bands to a rate of 92.5 per 100,000 population for those aged 50 to 64, before rising again slightly for people aged 65 and over, to 95.0 per 100,000 population.

The publication also covers people treated in the community under a Community Treatment Order (CTO)6. In 2019-20, 4,650 uses of a CTO were recorded.

Known rates of Community Treatment Order use by age, sex and ethnicity are also included in the report.

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