New research by Mind exposes extent of crisis in mental healthcare

Tue,10 October 2023
News Equality & Rights Health & Social Care

New data has been published by Mind, highlighting the full extent of the crisis of standards and safety in mental healthcare settings. This World Mental Health Day, Mind is calling on the Government to raise the standards of mental health hospitals. A petition to join in this call can be found on their website. 

The research found that mental healthcare staff across England reported an incident two times every hour in the last year and that 17,340 serious incidents were reported by staff in the same length of time. These serious incidents were reported in hospital, community and residential mental healthcare settings. The following numbers were recorded between April 2022 - April 2023. 

In total:

  • 15,254 reported incidents related to care in private community and hospital settings.

  • 2,086 related to NHS community and residential places of care.

  • Across all settings, the highest number of reported incidents were in the North West of England (2,666), followed closely by the East Midlands (2,657).

A more detailed geographical breakdown can be found on Mind's website.

The incidents reported included negligence and abuse, amongst other things, for example:

  • injuries to patients that caused likely long-term sensory, movement or brain damage, or physically damaged their body.

  • prolonged physical pain or psychological harm, or shortened life expectancy.

  • cases of abuse, including those involving the police.

  • injuries for which the patient needed treatment to prevent them dying.

Alongside this research, Mind highlights the growing list of abuse scandals in mental health hospitals. Most recently, the BBC reported that the conditions at Muckamore Abbey Hospital were "not fit for an animal". Matthew, who was an inpatient at the hospital for many years, was moved into solitary confinement with "no tables or chairs in the dining room of the pod" leaving him to "eat his meals in his bedroom in a desk space that was part of a wardrobe".

Mind has released a full statement by their Chief Executive, Dr Sarah Hughes: "We knew this was a crisis – now we know the scale of this crisis. People seek mental healthcare to get well, not to endure harm. Families are being let down by a system that’s supposed to protect their loved ones when they are most sick. The consequences can be and have been fatal."

Bethany Bale, Disability Rights UK Policy and Campaigns Officer, said "These figures show what's long been highlighted by a growing list of disgraceful scandals at mental health hospitals and in care homes. But the consistency in these numbers proves that the scandals we've seen are not unique or unexpected tragedies. They are a consequence of a broken system, and the treatment of those living in these settings won't change until we increase accountability, transparency, and dramatically raise the standards in mental healthcare. That includes legislating to abolish forced detention and treatment of people on mental health grounds." 

If you feel you need advice or support with your mental health, Mind's helplines operate Mon-Fri 9-6, and the Samaritans helpline is available 24/7. 

You can support Mind's Raise the Standard campaign by signing and sharing their petition.