The sharp rise in the number of people being detained under the
Mental Health Act 1983 shows services are “driven by fear”, mental
health groups warned last week.
Department of Health figures reveal that the number of men detained
under the act increased by 40 per cent over the past decade, and
those of women by 19 per cent.
The Mental Health Alliance claimed “sensationalist media reporting”
had led to the false impression in the public’s mind that mental
health and violence were always linked.
Chairperson Paul Farmer said plans to replace the existing act
could “provide the opportunity for a sea change”, but only if the
criteria for detention were tightened up.
“As it stands, the government’s draft mental health bill is likely
to significantly increase the use of compulsory powers,” he
There were 13,500 patients detained in hospital at the end of March
this year, with 1,200 in high security psychiatric hospitals,
10,400 in other NHS facilities and 1,900 in private mental nursing