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Mental health

What are mental health services?

Mental health services offer care, treatment and support for a range of conditions or illnesses affecting our psychological wellbeing.

In some cases, these services are for people whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act (MHA) - either by being detained in hospital or through being on a community treatment or guardianship order.

Mental health problems account for almost a quarter of the total burden of illness in this country - more than either cancer or heart disease - and one in four of us will experience at least one such condition in our lives.

Amongst the most common mental health conditions people seek treatment for are depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attacks.

A fresh start to the way we inspect and regulate mental health care services

Download this document to find out about the changes we're making to the way we inspect and regulate mental health care services.

A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of mental health services PDF | 619.87 KB



Types of mental health service

Detained patients

  • Provide care and treatment for people whose rights are restricted under the MHA.
  • Includes the treatment of people detained in a hospital and those on community treatment orders.
  • Also includes hospitals where patients may be detained temporarily.
  • These services are visited by our MHA commissioners.

Community mental health services

  • Provide care for people with mental health needs using a range of approaches.
  • Involve multidisciplinary teams of health and social care professionals.
  • People using the services may receive short-term interventions or long-term support and move between teams.
  • Includes care for people subject to supervised community treatment under the MHA.
  • Includes child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), assertive outreach, early intervention and crisis resolution teams.

Our latest findings

From our MHA Annual Report...

Our latest Mental Health Act Annual Report looks at how this act was used during 2012/13 and the other findings of our commissioners' visits.

Read some of the key findings below.

  • The number of people detained or treated under the act has risen by 12 per cent in the last five years.
  • One or more blanket rule was in place in more than three quarters of the wards we visited.
  • Some patients’ basic health needs were not met - of 550 records examined, we found 14 per cent were on a ward with no access to a GP service.

Read the full findings in our MHA Annual Report.