Use of NHS mental health, learning disability and autism services

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in the year to March 2019, around 4,000 people per 100,000 in the population of England used secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services
  • out of all ethnic groups (excluding groups labelled ‘Other’), Black Caribbean people were most likely to use the services – people from the Chinese ethnic group were least likely
  • people in the Mixed Other, Black Other, and Other Any ethnic groups had the highest rates for using the services – but these rates are considered to be overestimates because ‘Other’ categories may have been used for people whose specific ethnicity wasn’t known
  • the actual rates for people in the ethnic groups not labelled as ‘Other’ may be underestimated
Things you need to know

Rates for people in the 5 ‘Other’ ethnic groups are thought to be overestimated, and should be treated with caution. This includes:

  • Other Asian
  • Other Black
  • Other Mixed
  • Other White
  • Any Other

This is because ‘Other’ categories may have been used for people whose specific ethnicity wasn’t known.

These ethnicity rates use direct standardisation to adjust for the different gender and age profile of each ethnic group, allowing us to make comparisons on a like-for-like basis. We have also calculated 95% confidence intervals which are presented alongside the rates.

No adjustment has been made to these figures to account for differences in need or severity of mental health symptoms between different ethnic groups. As such any differences shown may be related to differences in need, availability of services, or other related factors. The potential causes of any differences cannot be identified or inferred from this analysis.

Errors may have been made when collecting, preparing or interpreting the data. The larger the number of people included for each ethnic group, the more reliable the value for that group. Data is collected on a smaller number of service users from ethnic minority groups than from the White British ethnic group. This means figures for ethnic minorities are less reliable than those for White British people.

The information published here from the Mental Health Bulletin 2018 to 2019 includes young people as well as adults. Before 2017, the information only included adults, so is not directly comparable to previous years.

What the data measures

This data measures the number of people using NHS-funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services in the financial year to March 2019.

Secondary care means specialist treatment or therapy for a mental health problem. It does not include non-specialist treatment, such as a prescription provided by a GP.

The number is shown as a rate per 100,000 people in each ethnic group. The data is collected from the Mental Health Services Data Set through monthly submissions. It includes NHS-funded services from independent providers.

People who had more than one period of care are counted once.

The ethnic categories used in this data

The 16 categories used in this data are those listed in the 2001 Census, which is still used in the NHS in England.

2. By ethnicity

Number of people per 100,000 using NHS-funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services, by ethnicity
Ethnicity Number per 100,000
All 4,013
Asian 3,458
Bangladeshi 4,234
Indian 2,544
Pakistani 4,268
Asian other 4,146
Black 4,832
Black African 3,261
Black Caribbean 4,891
Black other 11,580
Mixed 7,950
Mixed White/Asian 3,145
Mixed White/Black African 4,602
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 4,601
Mixed other 18,758
White 4,010
White British 4,013
White Irish 3,620
White other 5,621
Other including Chinese 7,327
Chinese 1,612
Any other 17,966

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Use of NHS mental health, learning disability and autism services By ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • out of the 5 aggregated ethnic groups, people from the Mixed ethnic group were the most likely to use NHS mental health, learning disabilities and autism services (7,950 people per 100,000)
  • people from the Mixed ethnic group were twice as likely to use the services as White people
  • out of the 16 individual ethnic groups, people in the Mixed Other, Black Other, and Other Any ethnic groups had the highest rates for using the services – however, these rates are considered to be overestimates because ‘Other’ categories may have been used for people whose specific ethnicity wasn’t known
  • excluding the ‘Other’ groups, the Black Caribbean group had the highest rate of people using NHS mental health, learning disabilities and autism services at 4,891 per 100,000
  • people from the Chinese ethnic group were the least likely to use the services at 1,612 adults per 100,000

3. Methodology

The Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS) is made up of mandatory monthly returns by providers of NHS-funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services.

The MHSDS includes services provided in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and the community, where the majority of people who use the services are treated.

This data is based on submissions made using version 3.0 of MHSDS between April 2018 and March 2019.

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 is 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, learning disabilities and autism services successfully provided a submission in each month between April 2018 and March 2019. This means these figures have been undercounted to some extent.

Ethnic group is a required piece of information in the Mental Health Services 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.

It is mandatory for NHS-funded care providers, including independent sector providers, to submit MHSDS data. The decision to submit MHSDS data for non-NHS funded clients is optional.

Confidence intervals

Download the data to see confidence intervals for the estimates on this page. You can read more about how confidence intervals are used to judge the reliability of data.

Rounding

Figures have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

In the data download file, figures (including confidence intervals) have been rounded to 1 decimal point.

Related publications

Mental Health Bulletin: 2018-19 Annual Report (PDF opens in a new window or tab)

Mental Health Services Monthly Statistics

Quality and methodology information

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

NHS Digital

Publication frequency

Monthly

Purpose of data source

The Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) has information about people who are in contact with mental health, learning disabilities and autism services. It uses clinical and operational data for purposes other than direct patient care.

Secondary source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Every 10 years

Purpose of data source

The Census is carried out every 10 years. The last one took place in March 2011.

Census data gives the government the information it needs to plan and run public services. It is also used as a benchmark for other statistical estimates, and it can help illustrate differences between various groups in the population.

5. Download the data

People using NHS funded mental health, learning disabilities and autism services - Spreadsheet (csv) 5 KB

This file contains the following: Ethnicity, Time, Geography, Value (standardised rate per 100,000 population), Confidence intervals, Numerator