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CTOs lead to rise in Mental Health Act stats

The number of people subject to restrictions under the Mental Health Act in England has risen by 5% in the past year, new figures show.

Just over twenty thousand people (20,038) found themselves subject to the Mental Health Act in England on March 2011; a rise of 991 since March 2010, according to a report from the NHS Information Centre.

The information hub claims the statistics suggest the increase is due to a larger number of people being supervised under community treatment orders (CTO).

In March 2011, 4,291 people were subject to a CTO - almost 30% higher than at March 2010.

The report also shows formal admissions to hospital fell slightly by 2.2% when compared to the previous year. This reduction is said to be linked to the increaing use of CTOs.

"Today's report suggests that community treatment orders have been used on a significant scale since their introduction in 2008, to care for people with mental health issues outside of a hospital environment," said Tim Straughan, Chief Executive of the NHS Information Centre.

In a bid to tackle the stigma that comes with mental health illnesses, the government has announced it is to join forces with Comic Relief.

Between the two parties, they plan to invest up to £20m in 'Time to Change', a stigma and anti-discrimination campaign run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

"One in four of us will experience some form of mental health problem during our lives. Unfortunately, people often have to cope with stigma and discrimination alongside their condition, in their families, their classrooms and their work places," said Care Services Minister Paul Burstow.

"Coping with a mental health condition is difficult enough without the added burden of overcoming discrimination too. That's why I am committing up to £16 million over the next three and a half years to Time to Change to help fight the negative attitudes people have towards mental health conditions."

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