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Compulsory mental health care orders at 15 year high

The number of “crisis” level mental health treatments issued across Scotland has hit it’s highest level in 15 years.

The Mental Welfare Commission (MWC) watchdog’s noted almost 5500 new episodes of the care orders since 2016- a rise of 8.2%.

The MWC’s also expressed its concern over the number of order which were issued without the approval of a mental health officer.

Executive director Dr Gary Morrison said: “We are concerned because it was designed to be used only in times of crisis, and it affords fewer safeguards for the individual.

“Yet the figures are showing that it is fast catching up on the more expected route to compulsory treatment.

“While we don’t know the causes for the rising figures, they could indicate a general increased pressure on mental health services and increased distress amongst patients, as more people are being compulsory, rather than voluntary, treatment.”

The commission said the preferred route to compulsory treatment us through short-term detention orders- which have seen the sharpest rise in the report of 12% on the previous year.

Minister for mental health Maureen Watt said: “Any increase in compulsory treatments may represent the effects of more people coming forward for treatment and increased awareness and response to mental ill health.

“Our mental health law is based on rights and principles, and offers protection for patients where compulsory treatment is necessary.

“We will continue to work the MWC to ensure these orders are used correctly and to promote patients’ rights more generally.” 

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