About the study

Find out more about the FINCH Study


The number of people being involuntarily admitted to mental health hospitals under the Mental Health Act (being “sectioned”) has been increasing in the UK. In particular, people from Black and Black British ethnic groups are around four times more likely to be detained than White British people. Being previously compulsory admitted is one of the main risk factors for future compulsory admission, however, there has not been very much research carried out to understand what types of support might help stop or reduce the likelihood of people being compulsory admitted. One way to try and reduce this number is to offer support to people who get compulsory admitted and attempt to reduce the likelihood of it happening again in the future.

Purpose of this Study

The aim of this study is to develop and test a new type of support intervention that aims to reduce the likelihood of compulsory admission happening again once someone leaves hospital.

The FINCH Intervention

  • This intervention will initially consist of four, one-hour, weekly individual sessions with a psychologist where a personalised crisis plan will be developed.
  • Following these four sessions, the psychologist will contact the patient for once-monthly check-ins for eleven months.
  • Calls will discuss how the person is coping since being discharged from hospital, whether they have used their crisis plan and whether their plan needs to be adjusted in any way

Who can take part?

Participants will be people who are currently under MHA section, who are close to being discharged. We are particularly keen to include and consider how to help  people ethnic minority backgrounds as they are more likely to be “sectioned” compared to White British people. Full details of participant eligibility can be found here.

What will the study involve?

We require eighty participants to take part in this pilot randomised control trial.

These participants will be recruited from two London Trusts (Camden & Islington and Northeast London) and one Lancashire Trust (Lancashire & South Cumbria).

Participants who are interested will be randomly allocated by chance to either the intervention group (receiving the FINCH intervention, in addition to their usual care) or the control group (do not receive the FINCH interview but continue to receive their usual care).

All participants will be followed up at 6- and 12- month post baseline to complete a range of measures with the researcher. At 24-months, participants medical records will be examined to check whether participants were re-admitted. A proportion of participants who received the interview will also be invited to a research interview to discuss their experiences at approximately 6-months post baseline.

Who is funding and organising the research?

The research is being organised by University College London in collaboration with Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust, Northeast London NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust. It is funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

Who has reviewed the study?

The study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) after peer review. The study has been given a favourable opinion by the NRES Committee: London - Bromley Research Ethics Committee.


All information will be held securely and in strict confidence.  We keep the information we collect about the participant separately from their  personal details and we can only link this information together with a secure code. Only authorised members of the research team will have access to their information. 

The research team will occasionally need to allow monitors from Regulatory Authorities to inspect the trial paperwork, in order to meet legal, ethical and safety requirements. All individuals who have access to data will be bound by strict data protection and confidentiality rules. Participants will not be identifiable in any published report from this study.