In 2019/20 we carried out a systemic review of mental health statistics in England. The aim of this review was to identify strengths and weaknesses across the landscape of mental health statistics. We focussed on the extent to which the statistical system was publishing the information needed both to provide a comprehensive picture of mental health, and to answer key questions about mental health in society today. We spoke to several stakeholders as part of our work and made specific recommendations for improvements both in the immediate term and going forward.
Since we published the findings of our review there have been many changes, both within and across the organisations that produce mental health statistics, and in the world at large. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis created pressures in our day-to-day lives, with the resulting potential for impact on individuals’ mental health.
In addition to this there have been several organisational changes. In 2021 Public Health England was replaced by the UK Health Security Agency and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. In 2023 NHS Digital and NHS England merged, with the new single organisation being known as NHS England. The two organisations are currently working through the process of integrating into one, but it is expected that by the end of 2023/24 the new single organisation will be between 30-40% smaller than its current combined size. The final impact of this on statistical resource and the production of statistics both on mental health and more broadly is not yet clear. However, data collection on Guardianship under the Mental Health Act 1983 has already been paused for one year, pending wider stakeholder consultation.
Any changes have the potential to impact both users’ needs for mental health statistics and the ability of producer organisations to produce the statistics themselves. The purpose of this follow-up was therefore to assess both progress against the findings and recommendations in our review, and how users’ needs have changed in the intervening period. For this update, we spoke to both statistics producers and a sample of the stakeholders we engaged with for our initial review. This short follow-up report presents our findings and summarises what we would like to happen next to ensure that mental health statistics in England continue to develop to meet users’ needs.Back to top