Increase in number of people in contact with NHS mental health services in England

Published on: Thursday, 24th November 2022

The number of people in contact with NHS mental health services in England (including those referred and those seen) has increased by 16.2% in the last year.

During 2021-22, 3,256,695 people were in contact with NHS-funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services - up from 2,803,244 in 2020-21 and 2,878,636 in 2019-20.   

This means that 5.8% of people in England were known to be in contact with those services during the year. This is compared to 5.0% of people in 2020-21 and 5.1% of people in 2019-20. 

Published by NHS Digital, the Mental Health Bulletin, 2021-22 Annual report also includes breakdowns by age, gender, ethnicity and deprivation. 

The number of under 18-year-olds in contact with NHS mental health services in England increased by 29.2% in the last year to 992,647 in 2021-22 – up from 768,083 in 2020-21 and 763,888 in 2019-20. 

Figures show that 18.2% of the country’s 16-year-olds (114,203) and 16.6% of the country’s 17-year-olds (101,694) were in contact with NHS mental health services. 

16-year-old girls are most likely to be in contact with NHS mental health services - with 22.8% of the population (69,580) having been in contact with these services during 2021-22. 

The Mental Health Bulletin also provides separate tables on inpatient and outpatient numbers and includes figures on those receiving the highest level of care. 

Numbers are also available on: 

  • Early intervention for psychosis
  • Use of perinatal community services
  • Memory services for those with dementia
  • People subject to restrictive interventions (including type of intervention)

Read the full report: Mental Health Bulletin, 2021-22 Annual report

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