Under-pressure mental health services need support and investment

25 January 2024

Despite thousands fewer detentions under the Mental Health Act, according to latest figures, mental health services across England are overstretched and understaffed.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive, NHS Providers, said:

"More people than before the pandemic are in contact with and being referred to mental health services, often with more complex needs, while nearly 2 million people are on waiting lists.

"Trusts are very worried about levels of unmet need, particularly among children and young people. Mental health services are under the cosh in the face of growing demand and need more government investment in facilities and people to give patients the high-quality care they need.

"If fewer detentions are the result of more people getting the help and care they need before reaching crisis point requiring use of the Act, then that is welcome. It is a significant concern, though, that detention rates for black and black British people are still significantly higher than other groups. We know that legislation to reform the Mental Health Act is long overdue.

"More must be done to meet the needs of every part of the population as early as possible, especially those from black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities. We need more support for prevention and early intervention to help combat inequalities and address underlying issues driving current pressures."