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Community mental health survey 2020
This survey looks at the experiences of people receiving community mental health services.
The 2020 community mental health survey received feedback from 17,601 people who received treatment for a mental health condition between 1 September 2019 and 30 November 2019.
What we found
This report shows that people are consistently reporting poor experiences of NHS community mental health services, with few positive results. For example, poor experiences were reported for crisis care, accessing care, and involvement. We have also found disparity in the experiences of different groups of people, especially among respondents with different diagnoses.
There are few results where the majority of people reported good experiences of mental health care. However, ‘organising care’ is an area where people were found to be more positive:
- 97% of people who have been told who is in charge of organising their care and services said they knew how to contact this person if they had a concern
- 91% said the person that organised their care did so ‘very well’ (58%) or ‘quite well’ (33%).
Another area where people were found to be more positive is ‘respect and dignity’:
- 73% reported that they were ‘always’ treated with dignity and respect
Key areas for improvement
- 28% of people indicated that they would not know who to contact, out of office hours in the NHS, if they had a crisis
- Of those who did try to contact this person or team, almost a fifth (17%) either did not get the help they needed or could not contact them (2%)
Support and wellbeing
- 36% of people felt they had not had support with their physical health needs
- 43% said they did not receive help or advice in finding support with financial advice or benefits
- 43% of people did not get help or advice in finding support for keeping or finding paid or voluntary work, but would have liked this help
- 44% of people who had received NHS therapies in the last 12 months felt they waited too long to receive them
- 24% of people felt they had not seen NHS mental health services often enough to meet their needs
- 59% said they were ‘definitely’ given enough time to discuss their needs and treatment
- 53% of those who had agreed with someone what care they will receive were ‘definitely’ involved as much as they wanted to be in the planning of their care
- 52% of people who had been receiving medicines in the last 12 months were ‘definitely’ involved in making decisions about their medicines as much as they wanted to be
- 50% of those who had received NHS therapies in the last 12 months were ‘definitely’ involved as much as they wanted to be in deciding which therapies to use
- 28% of people indicated that they had not been told who is in charge of organising their care
- 24% of those who had been receiving medicines in the last 12 months for their mental health needs had no discussion about the possible side effects
- 41% of people who had been receiving medicines had not had the purpose of discussed with them fully
How experience varies for different groups of people
People with more challenging and severe non-psychotic disorders, as well as those with complicated cognitive impairment and dementia disorders consistently reported worse than average experiences. People receiving treatment for a first episode of psychosis reported better than average experiences in almost all themes, including crisis care (access), organisation of care, and support and wellbeing.
Analysis also found differences in the experiences of people in different age groups, with those in the 18 to 35 age group reporting worse than average experiences, and those aged 66 and older reporting better than average experiences.
In addition, those who had been in contact with NHS mental health services for less than a year and people who identified as heterosexual reported better than average experiences across many areas of care.
Results for NHS trusts
Each trust was also provided with a benchmark report which provides more detail about the data. You can view these reports on the NHS surveys website.
Results from previous surveys
How will results be used?
We will use the results from the survey in the regulation, monitoring and inspection of NHS trusts. Survey data will be used to help us assess how trusts are performing. Survey data will also form a key source of evidence to support the judgements and inspection ratings published for trusts.
Trusts and commissioners are expected to take action to improve services based on the results.
NHS England and NHS Improvement; and the Department for Health and Social Care
Information collected nationally in a consistent way is essential to support public and Parliamentary accountability. The results are used by NHS England and NHS Improvement; and the Department of Health and Social Care for performance assessment, improvement and regulatory purposes.
- Last updated:
- 24 November 2020