Fears are growing over the increasing numbers of anti-depressants being prescribed to children and teenagers.
During the last year, anti-depressants being prescribed to children and adolescents increased by 54%.
The drugs have been linked to suicide and self-harm. Clinical psychologist Dr Lynn Olver, who works at Cornwall Eating Disorders, said: “These anti-depressants shouldn’t be the first intervention. Instead, things like psychological therapeutic intervention should be used.”
This psychological intervention is talking to those suffering and helping them with the social aspects of life. However the mental health department in the NHS doesn’t have enough resources. GPs are now relying on prescribing these drugs.
Dr. Olver says ‘Laying the foundations on how to deal with these issues, such as abuse or self-harm, in schools may help reduce the number of those affected.”
The age of those suffering from depression is getting younger and younger every year. Everybody’s brains react differently to these drugs, meaning it is very difficult to predict how their brain will react, meaning that for some these anti-depressants are lifesaving, but for some they do not work.
These anti-depressants are not recommended as the only way to tackle someone’s depression, but should be used alongside other methods.
A spokesman for the NHS told BBC School Report: “This year we pledged £1.25billion for children and young people’s mental health. This will help to provide greater access to a wider range of therapies although there will continue to be some patients who will benefit from using anti-depressants.”
If you are having problems with your own depression or self-harm, websites such as www.kooth.co.uk can help you to not feel alone. Visiting your local doctor’s practice or even just talking to someone you trust can help.
Reported by Lowena Olver
BBC School Report