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2018 community mental health survey: Statistical release

Independent data analysis

Community mental health services provide care and treatment for people who need mental health care over and above the services provided by primary care. Community mental health teams (CMHTs) support people in the community who have complex or serious presentations of mental health conditions. A CMHT can include: psychiatrists, psychologists, community psychiatric nurses, social workers, and occupational therapists. Most community mental health care is provided by staff who visit people in their own homes, though some specialist outpatient clinics may involve people visiting clinics based in community mental health centres or on a hospital site. Mental health services in England care for people with a wide range of conditions.

Public Health England states that in any given year, one in six adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health condition and that mental health conditions are the second leading cause of morbidity in England.

The most prevalent mental health conditions often are grouped under the ‘common mental health’ category. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), ‘common mental health’ conditions include: depression, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the UK, mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health condition, with 8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis. Between four and 10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime.

The Mental Health Foundation tells us that other less prevalent mental health conditions include psychotic mental health conditions, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, personality disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Research has shown that certain subgroups are more likely to experience a mental health problem. These subgroups include: those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, refugees/asylum-seeking/stateless people, people with disabilities (both learning and physical), lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people, carers, people affected by domestic violence, prisoners, homeless people and people affected by substance misuse or dependence.

According to Public Health England guidance, wider determinants of mental health conditions include: poverty/disadvantage (including factors such as debt, unemployment and housing), level of social support and relationships (including family/childhood, couple relationships and community), and discrimination (based on age, ethnicity and sexual orientation).

Everybody has a different experience of a mental health condition. Some people may have a single, one-off episode of a mental health issue and have short-term contact with mental health services. Others may have multiple or long-term experiences of varying severity throughout their lives, which may involve either on-going or intermittent contact with mental health services. It is likely that the group that has been in contact with mental health services for more than a year will include a higher proportion of people with a severe and enduring mental health problem.

Mental health conditions often go untreated and, historically, treatment options for mental health conditions are less effective than for physical conditions. Across mental health services, there is evidence of demographic inequalities in who is receiving treatment. Those most likely to report having treatment were female, White British, and aged between 35 and 54. People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups are less likely to access mental health treatment than the general population.