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NHS Psychiatric beds comprise mental illness and intellectual disability beds. Penrose hypothesised that the number of psychiatric in-patients was inversely related to prison population size.
To ascertain whether the Penrose hypothesis held true in England between 1960 and 2018–2019.
A time-series analysis explored the association between total prison population and NHS psychiatric beds; this was also tested for the male and female prison populations, using non-psychiatric beds as a comparator. Associations were explored with time lags of up to 20 years. Linear regression was conducted to estimate the size of the effect of bed closures.
NHS psychiatric beds decreased 93% and the prison population increased 208%. A strong (r =−0.96) and highly significant negative correlation between these changes was found. Annual reduction in psychiatric bed numbers was associated with an increase in prison population, strongest at a lag of 10 years. The closure of mental illness and intellectual disability beds was associated with increases in female prisoners 10 years later. The only significant explanatory variable for the increase in male prison population was intellectual disability bed reduction.
The Penrose hypothesis held true between 1960 and 2018–2019 in England: psychiatric bed closures were associated with increases in prison population up to 10 years later. For every 100 psychiatric beds closed, there were 36 more prisoners 10 years later: 3 more female prisoners and 33 more male prisoners. Our results suggest that the dramatic increase in the female prison population may relate to the closure of NHS beds.
In the UK, acute mental healthcare is provided by in-patient wards and crisis resolution teams. Readmission to acute care following discharge is common. Acute day units (ADUs) are also provided in some areas.
To assess predictors of readmission to acute mental healthcare following discharge in England, including availability of ADUs.
We enrolled a national cohort of adults discharged from acute mental healthcare in the English National Health Service (NHS) between 2013 and 2015, determined the risk of readmission to either in-patient or crisis teams, and used multivariable, multilevel logistic models to evaluate predictors of readmission.
Of a total of 231 998 eligible individuals discharged from acute mental healthcare, 49 547 (21.4%) were readmitted within 6 months, with a median time to readmission of 34 days (interquartile range 10–88 days). Most variation in readmission (98%) was attributable to individual patient-level rather than provider (trust)-level effects (2.0%). Risk of readmission was not associated with local availability of ADUs (adjusted odds ratio 0.96, 95% CI 0.80–1.15). Statistically significant elevated risks were identified for participants who were female, older, single, from Black or mixed ethnic groups, or from more deprived areas. Clinical predictors included shorter index admission, psychosis and being an in-patient at baseline.
Relapse and readmission to acute mental healthcare are common following discharge and occur early. Readmission was not influenced significantly by trust-level variables including availability of ADUs. More support for relapse prevention and symptom management may be required following discharge from acute mental healthcare.
Black, Asian and minority ethnicity groups may experience better health outcomes when living in areas of high own-group ethnic density – the so-called ‘ethnic density’ hypothesis. We tested this hypothesis for the treatment outcome of compulsory admission.
Data from the 2010–2011 Mental Health Minimum Dataset (N = 1 053 617) was linked to the 2011 Census and 2010 Index of Multiple Deprivation. Own-group ethnic density was calculated by dividing the number of residents per ethnic group for each lower layer super output area (LSOA) in the Census by the LSOA total population. Multilevel modelling estimated the effect of own-group ethnic density on the risk of compulsory admission by ethnic group (White British, White other, Black, Asian and mixed), accounting for patient characteristics (age and gender), area-level deprivation and population density.
Asian and White British patients experienced a reduced risk of compulsory admission when living in the areas of high own-group ethnic density [odds ratios (OR) 0.97, 95% credible interval (CI) 0.95–0.99 and 0.94, 95% CI 0.93–0.95, respectively], whereas White minority patients were at increased risk when living in neighbourhoods of higher own-group ethnic concentration (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.11–1.26). Higher levels of own-group ethnic density were associated with an increased risk of compulsory admission for mixed-ethnicity patients, but only when deprivation and population density were excluded from the model. Neighbourhood-level concentration of own-group ethnicity for Black patients did not influence the risk of compulsory admission.
We found only minimal support for the ethnic density hypothesis for the treatment outcome of compulsory admission to under the Mental Health Act.
For people in mental health crisis, acute day units (ADUs) provide daily structured sessions and peer support in non-residential settings, often as an addition or alternative to crisis resolution teams (CRTs). There is little recent evidence about outcomes for those using ADUs, particularly compared with those receiving CRT care alone.
We aimed to investigate readmission rates, satisfaction and well-being outcomes for people using ADUs and CRTs.
We conducted a cohort study comparing readmission to acute mental healthcare during a 6-month period for ADU and CRT participants. Secondary outcomes included satisfaction (Client Satisfaction Questionnaire), well-being (Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale) and depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale).
We recruited 744 participants (ADU: n = 431, 58%; CRT: n = 312, 42%) across four National Health Service trusts/health regions. There was no statistically significant overall difference in readmissions: 21% of ADU participants and 23% of CRT participants were readmitted over 6 months (adjusted hazard ratio 0.78, 95% CI 0.54–1.14). However, readmission results varied substantially by setting. At follow-up, ADU participants had significantly higher Client Satisfaction Questionnaire scores (2.5, 95% CI 1.4–3.5, P < 0.001) and well-being scores (1.3, 95% CI 0.4–2.1, P = 0.004), and lower depression scores (−1.7, 95% CI −2.7 to −0.8, P < 0.001), than CRT participants.
Patients who accessed ADUs demonstrated better outcomes for satisfaction, well-being and depression, and no significant differences in risk of readmission, compared with those who only used CRTs. Given the positive outcomes for patients, and the fact that ADUs are inconsistently provided in the National Health Service, their value and place in the acute care pathway needs further consideration and research.
Children of mothers with serious mental health difficulties are at increased risk of developing mental health difficulties themselves in their own lifetime. Specialist interventions delivered in perinatal mental health services offer an opportunity to support the infant's development and long-term mental health. This review aimed to systematically evaluate the shared elements of successful perinatal mental health interventions that underpin improved outcomes for infants whose mothers experience perinatal mental health difficulties. Nine electronic databases were searched comprehensively for relevant controlled studies of perinatal mental health interventions, and a narrative synthesis undertaken to assess whether statistically significant benefits were noted. Sixteen studies, trialing 19 interventions, were analyzed using a narrative approach and grouped according to reported effectiveness. Eight interventions demonstrated significant improvements in infant outcomes and/or mother–infant relationship outcomes and were used to inform the analysis of the included interventions’ components. While the interventions identified were diverse, there were common components which potentially underpin successful interventions for infants whose mothers are experiencing mental health difficulties, including: facilitation of positive Mother×Infant interactions; helping mothers to understand their infant's perspective or inner world; and the use of video feedback.
People living with serious mental illness (SMI) experience debilitating symptoms that worsen their physical health and quality of life. Regular physical activity (PA) may bring symptomatic improvements and enhance wellbeing. When undertaken in community-based group settings, PA may yield additional benefits such as reduced isolation. Initiating PA can be difficult for people with SMI, so PA engagement is commonly low. Designing acceptable and effective PA programs requires a better understanding of the lived experiences of PA initiation among people with SMI.
This systematic review of qualitative studies used the meta-ethnography approach by Noblit and Hare (1988). Electronic databases were searched from inception to November 2017. Eligible studies used qualitative methodology; involved adults (≥18 years) with schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, major depressive disorder, or psychosis; reported community-based group PA; and captured the experience of PA initiation, including key features of social support. Study selection and quality assessment were performed by four reviewers.
Sixteen studies were included in the review. We identified a “journey” that depicted a long sequence of phases involved in initiating PA. The journey demonstrated the thought processes, expectations, barriers, and support needs of people with SMI. In particular, social support from a trusted source played an important role in getting people to the activity, both physically and emotionally.
The journey illustrated that initiation of PA for people with SMI is a long complex transition. This complex process needs to be understood before ongoing participation in PA can be addressed. Registration—The review was registered on the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) on 22/03/2017 (registration number CRD42017059948).
The steep rise in the rate of psychiatric hospital detentions in England is poorly understood.
To identify explanations for the rise in detentions in England since 1983; to test their plausibility and support from evidence; to develop an explanatory model for the rise in detentions.
Hypotheses to explain the rise in detentions were identified from previous literature and stakeholder consultation. We explored associations between national indicators for potential explanatory variables and detention rates in an ecological study. Relevant research was scoped and the plausibility of each hypothesis was rated. Finally, a logic model was developed to illustrate likely contributory factors and pathways to the increase in detentions.
Seventeen hypotheses related to social, service, legal and data-quality factors. Hypotheses supported by available evidence were: changes in legal approaches to patients without decision-making capacity but not actively objecting to admission; demographic changes; increasing psychiatric morbidity. Reductions in the availability or quality of community mental health services and changes in police practice may have contributed to the rise in detentions. Hypothesised factors not supported by evidence were: changes in community crisis care, compulsory community treatment and prescribing practice. Evidence was ambiguous or lacking for other explanations, including the impact of austerity measures and reductions in National Health Service in-patient bed numbers.
Better data are needed about the characteristics and service contexts of those detained. Our logic model highlights likely contributory factors to the rise in detentions in England, priorities for future research and potential policy targets for reducing detentions.
Mental illness and mental well-being are independent but correlated dimensions of mental health. Both are associated with social functioning (in opposite directions), but it is not known whether they modify the effects of one another. New treatment targets might emerge if improving mental well-being in people with serious mental illness improved functional outcomes independent of clinical status.
To describe associations between mental well-being and functioning in people classified according to mental illness status.
Cross-sectional data from 5485 respondents to the Health Survey for England 2014 were analysed. Mental illness status (including whether diagnosed by a professional) was by self-report and grouped into four categories, including ‘diagnosis of serious mental illness’. Mental well-being was measured using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale, and functioning by items from the EQ-5D. Mental distress was assessed using General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) items. Associations were examined using moderated regression models with group membership as an interaction term.
Mental well-being score was associated with (higher) functioning score (P < 0.05). This association varied between mental illness groups, even after adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, physical health and symptoms of mental distress (F(3) = 14.60, P < 0.001). The gradient of this association was greatest for those with diagnosed serious mental illness.
Mental well-being was associated with higher functional status in people with mental illness, independent of the symptoms of mental distress and other confounders. The association was strongest in the diagnosed serious mental illness group, suggesting that mental well-being may be important in recovery from mental illness.
In-patients in crisis report poor experiences of mental healthcare not conducive to recovery. Concerns include coercion by staff, fear of assault from other patients, lack of therapeutic opportunities and limited support. There is little high-quality evidence on what is important to patients to inform recovery-focused care.
To conduct a systematic review of published literature, identifying key themes for improving experiences of in-patient mental healthcare.
A systematic search of online databases (MEDLINE, PsycINFO and CINAHL) for primary research published between January 2000 and January 2016. All study designs from all countries were eligible. A qualitative analysis was undertaken and study quality was appraised. A patient and public reference group contributed to the review.
Studies (72) from 16 countries found four dimensions were consistently related to significantly influencing in-patients' experiences of crisis and recovery-focused care: the importance of high-quality relationships; averting negative experiences of coercion; a healthy, safe and enabling physical and social environment; and authentic experiences of patient-centred care. Critical elements for patients were trust, respect, safe wards, information and explanation about clinical decisions, therapeutic activities, and family inclusion in care.
A number of experiences hinder recovery-focused care and must be addressed with the involvement of staff to provide high-quality in-patient services. Future evaluations of service quality and development of practice guidance should embed these four dimensions.
Declaration of interest
K.B. is editor of British Journal of Psychiatry and leads a national programme (Synergi Collaborative Centre) on patient experiences driving change in services and inequalities.
Conventional approaches to evidence that prioritise randomised controlled trials appear increasingly inadequate for the evaluation of complex mental health interventions. By focusing on causal mechanisms and understanding the complex interactions between interventions, patients and contexts, realist approaches offer a productive alternative. Although the approaches might be combined, substantial barriers remain.
Declaration of interest
All authors had financial support from the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme while completing this work. The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Health Service, the National Institute for Health Research, the Medical Research Council, Central Commissioning Facility, National Institute for Health Research Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, the Health Services and Delivery Research Programme or the Department of Health. S.P.S. is part funded by Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West Midlands. K.B. is editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry.
To compare rates of admission for different types of severe mental illness between ethnic groups, and to test the hypothesis that larger and more clustered ethnic groups will have lower admission rates. This was a descriptive study of routinely collected data from the National Health Service in England.
There was an eightfold difference in admission rates between ethnic groups for schizophreniform and mania admissions, and a fivefold variation in depression admissions. On average, Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups had higher rates of admission for schizophreniform and mania admissions but not for depression. This increased rate was greatest in the teenage years and early adulthood. Larger ethnic group size was associated with lower admission rates. However, greater clustering was associated with higher admission rates.
Our findings support the hypothesis that larger ethnic groups have lower rates of admission. This was a between-group comparison rather than within each group. Our findings do not support the hypothesis that more clustered groups have lower rates of admission. In fact, they suggest the opposite: groups with low clustering had lower admission rates. The BME population in the UK is increasing in size and becoming less clustered. Our results suggest that both of these factors should ameliorate the overrepresentation of BME groups among psychiatric in-patients. However, this overrepresentation continues, and our results suggest a possible explanation, namely, changes in the delivery of mental health services, particularly the marked reduction in admissions for depression.
The supply of resources in an economy is limited. However, the demand for resources is generally unlimited. This is particularly the case with healthcare; if the technology and expertise to treat people exist, then there will be a demand for such resources. If the technology and expertise do not exist, then there will be a demand for their provision. Scarcity of resources leads to competing alternatives. In the healthcare arena, policy-makers and clinicians are confronted with having to decide how healthcare resources should be allocated. What should guide decision-makers in this task of resource allocation? Obviously we would expect treatments and interventions to be looked at favourably if they are known to produce good outcomes. However, it is also necessary to know what the costs of achieving these outcomes are. This is particularly relevant given the high and increasing cost of healthcare. But economics should not be concerned with simply cutting costs. Costs are in effect proxies for units of production. More units of production could well result in improved outcomes. Therefore, the more expensive option might be the preferred one. If an evaluation does not include a cost component, then inefficient services may go undetected and resources will be used inappropriately. High-quality outcome and cost data are therefore required to advise policy-makers and clinicians as to the best use of their limited resources. This chapter examines the extent to which costs have been calculated in an appropriate way in mental healthcare evaluations.
Cost measurement has been undervalued in many studies. Sometimes costs have been omitted. In other cases, not all relevant costs have been collected. Costs are frequently measured incorrectly or not interpreted correctly. When costs have been measured, it has often been in an ad hoc fashion. Hardly any costing instruments have been published and described. One exception in the UK is the Client Service Receipt Inventory (Beecham, 1995; Beecham & Knapp, 2001). This is unfortunate, as costs are one of the few measures that have regularly exhibited variations among treatment interventions.
We need to be sure that the cost data being collected are appropriate.
Individual variables and area-level variables have been identified as explaining much of the variance in rates of compulsory in-patient treatment.
To describe rates of voluntary and compulsory psychiatric in-patient treatment in rural and urban settings in England, and to explore the associations with age, ethnicity and deprivation.
Secondary analysis of 2010/11 data from the Mental Health Minimum Dataset.
Areas with higher levels of deprivation had increased rates of in-patient treatment. Areas with high proportions of adults aged 20–39 years had the highest rates of compulsory in-patient treatment as well as the lowest rates of voluntary in-patient treatment. Urban settings had higher rates of compulsory in-patient treatment and ethnic density was associated with compulsory treatment in these areas. After adjusting for age, deprivation and urban/rural setting, the association between ethnicity and compulsory treatment was not statistically significant.
Age structure of the adult population and ethnic density along with higher levels of deprivation can account for the markedly higher rates of compulsory in-patient treatment in urban areas.
Mental well-being is being used as an outcome measure in mental health services. The recent Chief Medical Officer's (CMO's) report raised questions about mental well-being in people with mental illness, including how to measure it. We discuss whether mental well-being has prognostic significance or other utility in this context.
Communication may be an influential determinant of inequality of access to, engagement with and benefit from psychiatric services.
To review the evidence on interventions designed to improve therapeutic communications between Black and minority ethnic patients and clinicians who provide care in psychiatric services.
Systematic review and evidence synthesis (PROSPERO registration: CRD42011001661). Data sources included the published and the ‘grey’ literature. A survey of experts and a consultation with patients and carers all contributed to the evidence synthesis, interpretation and recommendations.
Twenty-one studies were included in our analysis. The trials showed benefits mainly for depressive symptoms, experiences of care, knowledge, stigma, adherence to prescribed medication, insight and alliance. The effect sizes were smaller for better-quality trials (range of d 0.18–0.75) than for moderate- or lower-quality studies (range of d 0.18–4.3). The review found only two studies offering weak economic evidence.
Culturally adapted psychotherapies, and ethnographic and motivational assessment leading to psychotherapies were effective and favoured by patients and carers. Further trials are needed from outside of the UK and USA, as are economic evaluations and studies of routine psychiatric care practices.
Mental well-being underpins many aspects of health and social
functioning, and is economically important.
To describe mental well-being in a general population sample and to
determine the extent to which mental well-being and mental illness are
independent of one another.
Secondary analysis of a survey of 7293 adults in England. Nine survey
questions were identified as possible indicators of mental well-being.
Common mental disorders (ICD-10) were ascertained using the Revised
Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R). Principal components analysis was
used to describe the factor structure of mental well-being and to
generate mental well-being indicators.
A two-factor solution found eight out of nine items with strong loadings
on well-being. Eight items corresponding to hedonic and eudaemonic
well-being accounted for 36.9% and 14.3% of total variance respectively.
Separate hedonic and eudaemonic well-being scales were created. Hedonic
well-being (full of life; having lots of energy) declined with age, while
eudaemonic well-being (getting on well with family and friends; sense of
belonging) rose steadily with age. Hedonic well-being was lower and
eudaemonic well-being higher in women. Associations of well-being with
age, gender, income and self-rated health were little altered by
adjustment for symptoms of mental illness.
In a large nationally representative population sample, two types of
well-being were distinguished and reliably assessed: hedonic and
eudaemonic. Associations with mental well-being were relatively
independent of symptoms of mental illness. Mental well-being can remain
even in the presence of mental suffering.