Central Queensland mental cases not excessive: expert

CENTRAL Queensland had the fourth-highest number of matters before the Mental Health Review Tribunal among the state's regional centres.

The area, which takes in Rockhampton and Gladstone, was in line with a statewide increase across the board in MHRT figures for the past two financial years.

There were 396 tribunal hearings, seven state-sanctioned electroconvulsive therapy orders and 63 forensic order reviews in 2013-2014.

In 2012-13 there were 382 hearings, two state-sanctioned electroconvulsive therapy orders and 51 forensic reviews.

The area had the third-highest indigenous rate of appearances with 53 patients going before the tribunal and 199 Aboriginal hearings.

There were 14 forensic order reviews involving indigenous people and 63 involving the wider community.

Mental Illness Fellowship Queensland branch chief Tony Stevenson said the MHRT figures were a drop in the ocean compared to the situation in the broader community.

"When you're talking about the mental health tribunal that agency deals with people who either have come before the courts and need to be assessed as to whether they are able to stand trial because of mental illness, or they're people who have got a serious psychotic episode such that the mental health system believes that they're not capable themselves of making decisions about their treatment," he said.

"So when you have a look at those figures they are pretty low really compared to the population in those areas.

"In fact the number of people ... that come before the tribunal are pretty low generally."

Tribunal president Barry Thomas said the region was in keeping with the statewide trend of a 6-12% increase in the last financial year.

Despite its dark past, Mr Thomas said, ECT was a common treatment and there was no need for concern over the steep increase in orders.

Topics:  forensic health mental health

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