Reforming the Mental Health Act

16 April 2019

The implications of the NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit’s work for the Independent Review

The Independent Mental Health Act Review’s final report was published by Professor Sir Simon Wessely in December 2018. To support the review’s decision-making process, the NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit carried out ten research studies, which provided helpful pointers for the work of the review.

Reforming the Mental Health Act is a summary of these studies for policymakers, commissioners and service providers. It explores issues such as the rising use of the Mental Health Act since 2007; patterns and variations in the use of mental health legislation; approaches to preventing/reducing the use of the Act; compulsory community treatment; and the experiences of patients and carers.

The research carried out for the Review by the PRU highlights continuing inequalities in who is detained. For too many people, services that seek to improve people’s health are experienced as overly coercive, as not treating people with dignity and as uncommunicative. But there are also signs of hope: that drawing on evidence of what works we can begin to reduce the use of compulsory powers and give people and their families a better experience of mental health care.

About the Policy Research Unit

The NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit (MHPRU) at University College London and King’s College London was established in 2017. Its aim is to help the Department of Health and Social Care and others involved in making nationwide plans for mental health services to make decisions based on good evidence. The MHPRU is managed by academics at UCL and KCL in partnership with collaborators from City University and University of Birmingham. Centre for Mental Health and The Mental Elf work alongside the Unit to ensure its work is accessible and relevant.

Join us in the fight for equality in mental health

We’re dedicated to eradicating mental health inequalities. But we can’t do it without your support.

Please take this journey with us – donate today.

Donate now

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


We take care to protect and respect any personal data you share with us.
For information on how we use your data, check out our privacy policy.