‘Discriminatory’ mental health system overhauled

Posted: January 18th 2021


Interesting insights here. This article tells us:

Plans have been announced to overhaul the mental health system - with the aim of making it less discriminatory towards black people.

Ministers say changes to how people are sectioned in England and Wales will see them treated "as individuals, with rights, preferences, and expertise".

Black people are over four times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act, relative to population.

The mental health charity Mind said the changes "cannot come soon enough."

People are detained under the mental health act - or sectioned - for their own safety, or the safety of others. 

How long they are detained for varies - but once detained, they are immediately considered to be "sectioned".

Use of the Mental Health Act has increased markedly - from 2005/6 to 2015/16, the number of people detained in hospital increased by 40%.

NHS data for England shows there were at least 50,893 new detentions under the Mental Health Act in 2019/20 - but the overall total will be higher as not all providers submitted data. Of those detentions, 5,336 people were black or black British. 

The data also shows that in 2019/20 there were 321 detentions per 100,000 population for people who were black or black British - while there were 73 detentions per 100,000 for white people.