Please find below comment from Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of the mental health charity SANE, on the rise in antidepressant prescriptions reported by the Health and Social Care Information Centre:
“The rise in antidepressant prescriptions does not necessarily mean that GPs are diagnosing more people with depression, but that people are being treated for longer periods on repeat prescriptions. Antidepressants are also being used for a wider range of mental health problems, such as anxiety. The longer-term rise may also in part reflect a greater willingness of people to seek help when concerned about their mental health.
“What is surprising is that there continues to be such a steep rise despite the fact that the Government has invested £400 million over four years in improving access to psychological therapies, which makes us concerned that people are still waiting too long for these talking treatments. At SANE we hear of people who may wait up to 12 months before receiving such help.
“While casual use of antidepressants because doctors have no time is worrying, more important is the potential risk of untreated depression. Severe depression can lead to suicide and reduce a person’s life expectancy by as much as 20 years, but even what may be considered mild depression can increase the risk of premature death from other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”
Click here to view the publication of the latest figures at the NHS information centre.
For more information please contact the SANE media department on 020-7422 5556.