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One in 50 people in contact with NHS specialist mental health services

One in 50 people in England were in contact with NHS specialist services for those with severe or enduring mental health problems in 2006-07, according to a new report by The NHS Information Centre.

The number accessing specialist services, which cover care by specialist psychiatric teams in hospital or in the community, has risen over the four years covered by the report, reaching more than 1.1 million in 2006-07.

Of this number, about one in 10 spent time as an inpatient in mental health services, with one in four inpatients spending some time detained compulsorily under the Mental Health Act.

The national report is the first ever to use data from the Mental Health Minimum Dataset (MHMDS) annual return and offers the most comprehensive information to date on NHS secondary mental health services.

Its findings are viewed as experimental, as this is the first time the information has been analysed and presented in this way and there are still issues with the collection and coverage of data.

The study findings include that although more men than women spent time as hospital inpatients (54,900 men compared to 51,600 women) in 2006-07, women outnumbered men as users of outpatient and community mental health services by more than 100,000 (413,500 men compared to 521,300 women).

NHS Information Centre