Man speaking with a therapist

New research to support serious mental health problems

NIHR has awarded £3m funding to four new research projects aimed at improving the experiences of people with serious mental health problems, including those detained under the Mental Health Act.

The new research projects aim to reduce the number of compulsory hospital admissions for people with mental health conditions and improve both the experiences of the patients, and those of their friends and families.

Funded by the NIHR Policy Research Programme, the research will support the recently-announced reforms of the Mental Health Act by the Government, providing 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 the 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.

These detentions have disproportionately impacted black British people, at a rate of more than four times that of white British counterparts.

Following an independent review of the Mental Health Act in 2018, the UK Government has launched landmark reforms of mental health laws to deliver a greater parity between mental and physical health services, put patients’ views at the centre of their care and tackle the disproportionate detention of people from BAME communities.

Professor Joy Duxbury OBE, Professor of Mental Health, Manchester Metropolitan University and Lead Researcher of the ImprovE-ACT project, said: "Given ongoing concerns about the high rates of detention of vulnerable individuals and associated trauma for them and their families, this has the potential to be a crucial piece of research.

“We hope to co-create an authentic and effective intervention that will be produced by and for those most affected in a meaningful way. Most importantly we need to ensure that the voice of previously silenced communities is heard.”

More details on the four projects to receive funding can be found below:

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