Use of NHS mental health and learning disability services
Last updated 10 October 2019 - see all updates
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1. Main facts and figures
- in 2014/15, about 1 adult in 28 used mental health and learning disability services in England
- adults in the Black broad ethnic group and Black Caribbean specific ethnic group were the most likely to use mental health and learning disability services, out of all ethnic groups for which ethnicity was reliably recorded
- adults in the Other broad ethnic group and the Other Black specific ethnic group had the highest rates for using mental health and learning disability services – however, these are considered to be overestimates because ‘other’ categories may have been used by default where someone’s specific ethnicity wasn’t known
- adults in the Chinese ethnic group were the least likely to use mental health and learning disability services
- the actual rates for using these services among people in the ethnic groups not labelled as ‘other’ may be underestimated, particularly those within the Black ethnic groups
The ethnic categories used in this data
The 16 categories used in this data are those listed in the 2001 Census. The categories are broadly the same as those used in the 2011 Census, with the following exceptions:
- the 2001 Census categorised Chinese people within 'Other ethnic group'.
- the 2001 Census did not list Gypsy and Irish Travellers or Arab people.
The 2001 categories are therefore as follows:
- English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British
- Any Other White background
Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:
- White and Black Caribbean
- White and Black African
- White and Asian
- Any Other Mixed/Multiple ethnic background
- Any Other Asian background
- Any Other Black/ African/ Caribbean background
Other ethnic group:
- Any Other ethnic group
2. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||Number per 100,000|
|Mixed White/Black African||3,795|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||3,581|
|Chinese and other||6,771|
Summary of Use of NHS mental health and learning disability services By ethnicity Summary
The Mental Health Minimum Dataset (MHMDS) and Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Dataset (MHLDDS) are mandatory monthly returns generated by providers of NHS-funded adult secondary services in the course of delivering those services to people of any age in England. This analysis is limited to adults.
These statistics are based on data collected through submissions during the financial year 2014/15. They provide a comprehensive picture of people who used adult secondary mental health and learning disability services.
This data is based on submissions made using version 4.12 of the Mental Health Minimum Dataset (MHMDS) between April and August 2014 and version 1.13 of the Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Dataset (MHLDDS) between September 2014 and March 2015 (referred to here as the dataset). The changes between the MHMDS and the MHLDDS reflect the expansion in scope of the dataset to include people using NHS-funded or part-funded learning disabilities services for the first time.
The analysis also uses Census 2011 population data for each ethnic group. In a small number of cases, a person did not have their ethnicity recorded in the dataset. This means that the ethnicity totals may not add up to the national totals.
Patients are counted only once regardless of how many providers they have been in contact with.
Providers of mental health and learning disability services have 2 opportunities to submit a month's data, known as primary and refresh windows. Published data will always be based on a refresh submission unless it was not provided, in which case the primary submission is used. Not all providers of secondary mental health and learning disabilities services successfully provided a submission in each month of 2014/15 which means these figures have been undercounted to some extent.
Ethnic group is a required piece of information in the MHMDS dataset. This means that wherever healthcare providers hold or collect this information about a person, it should be included in their submission to NHS Digital.
All providers of NHS funded specialist mental health and learning disability services for adults (including people aged 65 and over) should submit the MHLDDS. However, during 2014/15 only a small number of independent sector providers made submissions.
Numerator: Number of people by ethnic group with an open spell of care with NHS funded adult secondary mental health and learning disability services at any point between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015
Denominator: population of adults in England who identify with the same ethnic background
The confidence intervals for the estimate of the standardised rates per 100,000 population for each ethnic group are available in the ‘download the data’ section.
The number of White British adults using adult mental health and learning disability services in 2014/15 was 3,634 per 100,000 of the population. This is a reliable estimate based on the people using these services that year, but it is not possible to be 100% certain of the true rate for use of mental health and learning disability services for this population.
It’s 95% certain, however, that the rate for White British adults using mental health and learning disability services lies somewhere between 3627.8 and 3640.2 per 100,000 of the population. In statistical terms, this is a 95% confidence interval. This means that 95 times out of 100 the estimate would fall between the lower and upper bounds of the confidence interval. But 5 times out of 100 it would fall outside this range.
The smaller the number of adults contacting these services, the more uncertain the estimate and the wider the confidence interval. For example, there were fewer Black Caribbean adults using the services than White British adults, so we can be less certain about the estimate of 4,796 per 100,000 for the Black Caribbean group. This greater uncertainty is expressed by the wider confidence interval of between 4728.4 to 4863.2 per 100,000 of the Black Caribbean population.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
Due to the large underlying populations no disclosure control or suppression rules were applied. Due to the large underlying populations no disclosure control or suppression rules were applied.
Figures have been rounded to 1 decimal point.
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Purpose of data source
The Mental Health Minimum Dataset (MHMDS) has information about adults who are in contact with mental health and learning disability services. It uses clinical and operational data for purposes other than direct patient care.
5. Download the data
This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, geography, value, denominator, confidence intervals, numerator