THE number of young women being detained for mental health treatment in Scotland has doubled in the past decade.

Use of short-term detentions of up to 28 days in women under 25 have surged from 142 to in 2009/10 to 316 in 2018/19, an increase of 122.5 per cent.

Young women aged 18 to 24 were also the most likely group in the female population to be subject to the most stringent form of detention, a compulsory treatment order in a psychiatric facility, which can last up to six months.

Last year, there were a total of 185 such admissions among young women compared to 105 in the same age group in 2009/10.

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Detention is used when someone's mental health has deteriorated to a point where they are in crisis and pose a risk to themselves or others, but are unable to consent to treatment.

Emergency detentions lasting up to 72 hours can be used in less severe cases.

A report today by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland reveals that there were a total of 6,038 new episodes of compulsory treatment in Scotland last year, the highest figure since the powers came into force in 2003.

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The detention of young men aged 16-17 has doubled in a single year. Between 2009/10 and 2017/18 there were between nine and 13 emergency detentions per year among men in this age group. However, in 2018/19 this suddenly shot up to 26.

Dr Moira Connolly, interim executive director (medical) for MWC Scotland, said: "Compulsory treatment can, of course, be essential for the assessment and treatment of a person who is very unwell, but it does restrict an individual’s rights, and must always be used with careful consideration.

"The variation in rates of use across the country is an issue we again highlight and invite health boards to examine.

“The rise in numbers of times detention is used in relation to young people is concerning. We already know of the increased number of children and young people seeking help for mental health issues, but we need to understand more about whether those pressures are now being reflected in our data regarding compulsory hospital treatment.”

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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde continues to have the highest rates of both emergency and short term detention, a consistent pattern over the past decade. However, only 33% of detentions in the region took place with the consent of a mental health officer.

Dr Connolly added: “The consent of a mental health officer in these cases is an important safeguard for the individual.

"The low rates in some areas are a real concern for us and we hope that our data will be taken into account by the government and by health boards, local authorities and integrated joint boards, with whom we will continue to raise it.”

Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Monica Lennon said it was "extremely concerning" to see a rise in the use of forced detentions for young people.

She added: "The Scottish Government must investigate why this is happening, and if the rise in detentions is linked to the failure of young people to access routine mental health treatment through the NHS."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Any increase in compulsory treatment may represent the effects of more people coming forward for treatment and an increased awareness in mental ill health more generally.

"It’s also important to note that the majority of people subject to compulsory treatment are on short term orders rather than long term."