The mental health detention process: a scoping review to inform GP training

Paula Houton*, Helen Reid, Gavin Davidson, Gerard Gormley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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General Practitioners are often faced with deciding whether or not an unwell patient requires detention for assessment in hospital under mental health legislation. This can be a complex and daunting process. Despite this, General Practitioners and most other professionals involved receive limited formal training.

To map and review the current literature on training in mental health detention processes. These insights are vital to inform the further development of meaningful educational approaches.

Design & Setting
A systematic scoping literature review was conducted to identify what is known about how best to develop training in this area.

Arskey and O’Malley’s framework was used to select, chart and analyse articles from across six electronic databases. 1,136 articles were included in the initial screening phase and 183 articles were included in the full-text screening phase. Key themes were derived using an iterative and thematic approach. A personal and public involvement group was set up for this project and other stakeholders in the mental health detention process were consulted about our findings.

52 articles were included in the final review. Professionals consistently highlighted unmet training needs and difficulties with the process. There were identified needs for practical, interdisciplinary training including discussion of complex cases, and opportunities to learn from those with direct experience.

This work is foundational for the development of meaningful educational approaches around mental health detention processes. A strong research base will inform and strengthen training with the ultimate aim of improving patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberBJGPO.2022.0061
Number of pages9
JournalBJGP Open
Issue number4
Early online date19 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022, The Authors.


  • mental health detention
  • general practice
  • training


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