Has the number of people using mental services increased?

Last updated: 11 Jan 2017

In brief


1,400 more people are accessing mental health services every day, compared to 2010/11.


NHS figures suggest this but we can’t know for sure yet. Changes to the way these figures are gathered means it's not possible to calculate exactly how the number of people accessing mental health services has changed since 2010.

“If we look at what is happening in relation to mental health treatment in the National Health Service, we see 1,400 more people every day accessing mental health services.”

Theresa May, 11 January 2017

The Department of Health told us that the Prime Minister was referring to the difference between the number of patients using NHS mental health services in 2010/11 and 2014/15.

However, changes to the way information about mental health service users are collected means that the figures for these two years aren’t directly comparable. That means we can’t say for sure how the numbers of people being treated has changed. We’ve asked the NHS for more information so we can judge the figures.

More recent figures have been published since the government made its calculations. These estimate that the number of patients using NHS mental health services was just under 1.8 million in 2015/16. In total the number of people using NHS services and independent mental health services funded by the NHS was just over this.

NHS Digital also told us that these figures don’t include people who just go to their GP about mental health issues or the Adult Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme which provides therapies for people with anxiety and depression.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of Prime Minister's Questions. Read the roundup.


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