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Tribunal just slightly busier

CENTRAL Queensland's Mental Health Review Tribunal caseload remains one of the lowest in Queensland despite it being slightly busier last financial year.

The tribunal, which covers Rockhampton and Gladstone, met 53 times in 2014-15 and handled 448 matters - 40 more than the previous reporting period.

Statewide, the tribunal members met 1809 times and dealt with 12,868 cases in 2014-15.

The region's MHRT sessions reviewed 53 court-sanctioned forensic orders and 374 involuntary treatment orders in 2014-15, compared to 63 FOs and 326 ITOs the previous 12 months.

The region's electroconvulsive therapy orders fell from seven in 2013-14 to four last financial year.

Tribunal president Barry Thomas said MHRT clients ranged from serious violent offenders to people who had committed minor crimes such as damaging property.

Mr Thomas said his organisation played a vital role in helping people with extreme psychosis including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder return to the community.

"The fact of life is that mental illness can be a nasty lethal illness for some people - we see the people who are the most unwell," he said.

"Often the tribunal gives patients an opportunity to have a space where they are respected and the treating team can explain to them why it is recommended they stay on an order.

"A lot of patients don't get the result they want from the tribunal because it takes a while for some people to get a grasp on the challenges of their illness.

"We want them to be able to manage their illness - we don't want to be looking over their shoulders all the time."

The Queensland Mental Health Review Tribunal annual report was recently handed to the Queensland Parliament.



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