The £3 million new research projects aim to reduce the number of compulsory hospital admissions for people with mental health conditions and improve the experiences of patients and their families and friends.
The research, funded by the NIHR Policy Research Programme, will support the government’s newly announced reforms of the Mental Health Act and provide evidence to policy makers rolling out the reforms.
The Mental Health Act (1983) covers the assessment, treatment and rights of people with a mental health disorder. Under this act a person can be detained, or ‘sectioned’, and treated without their agreement if they are at risk of harm to themselves or others.
Since the act came into force, the rates of compulsory detentions in mental health hospitals have more than doubled. Black British people are over four times more likely than white British people to be detained under that legislation.
Following an independent review of the Mental Health Act in 2018, the government has launched landmark reforms of mental health laws to deliver parity between mental and physical health services, put patients’ views at the centre of their care, and tackle the disproportionate detention of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
Professor Kamaldeep Bhui and Dr Roisin Mooney at the University of Oxford will invite service users and mental health staff to use photography to capture their experiences of compulsory admission, which will then be used to inform a new approach to reducing the number of people receiving compulsory care.
Professor Bhui and Dr Mooney said,
“We are so delighted to be leading this important creative and experience-driven policy research to improve the care of people with mental health problems, especially if they receive care under the powers of the Mental Health Act. We know this disproportionately affects some ethnic groups and anticipate the research will provide a strong evidence base - grounded in people’s experience - for therapeutic and policy advances.”
Funded project summary
Experience based investigation and Co-design of approaches to Prevent and reduce Mental Health Act Use: (CO-PACT)
Professor Kamaldeep Bhui and Dr Roisin Mooney, University of Oxford
This research will recruit service users who have experienced at least one compulsory admission to hospital in the previous year, and mental health staff, from seven cities across England. These participants will be invited to use photography, along with titles, captions, or descriptions, to capture their experiences of compulsory admission.
In each city, this information will be shared among a group of service users, carers and mental health staff, who will work together to design and test a new approach to reduce the number of people receiving compulsory care and ethnic inequalities in the use of the Mental Health Act.