Katharine Sacks-Jones, Director of Agenda, says: “The CQC’s report on the mental health sector is extremely concerning, but unfortunately not surprising.
“Agenda’s own research on women’s mental health showed that many trusts are failing to take account of the specific needs of women and girls in particular.
“More than half of women with mental health problems have experienced abuse so being held in overly restrictive settings can be frightening and also risks re-traumatising them.
“On restraint – a key area of concern in the report – our research found that women and girls were regularly and repeatedly restrained sometimes at alarming rates.
“Mental health units are meant to be caring, therapeutic environments for those at their most vulnerable, not places where people become institutionalised and physical force is routine.
“That is why we believe care must not be overly restrictive and restraint should only ever be used as a last resort. Instead, women and girls’ particular needs and experiences, including their histories of trauma, must be taken into account by mental health services and support given to tackle the underlying issues they face.”