Although a wealth of literature regarding lay evaluation or satisfaction with health services exists, a paucity of literature is available about satisfaction with mental health services. Much of this literature is fraught with methodological problems. The study described, using both quantitative and qualitative methodology, investigated how users of in-patient mental health services evaluated these services with particular reference to the areas of the admission process, treatment, ward environment and safety. The findings confirmed the broad outcomes reported in the literature, in that they demonstrated the mismatch between quantitative and qualitative data. Global satisfaction ratings were generally positive; however, more specific questions yielded less positive outcomes. Semi-structured interviews reported some important areas of dissatisfaction, including a lack of information regarding treatment and services. Fears relating to safety were expressed equally by male and female users. Further work in this area is required with larger samples, and with specific reference to the experience of ethnic minorities and those detained under the Mental Health Act.