The health news of the day is that there has been a 40% increase in prescriptions of anti-depressants . The news bulletins are linking this to the worries about money now the economy has nose dived and unemployment is on the rise.
This however, should not be a surprise to anybody. It is well known that when the economy falters and a recession ensues the rates of suicides increase and with it the rates of mental health problems, depression and anxiety.
Health services in the UK are being stretched, in the last year alone referrals for talking therapies rose four-fold to nearly 600,000, Department of Health figures show.
Suicide rates have been on the rise for some time and are approaching the 6,000 mark. Three times the amount of people killed on the roads and nearly six times the amount of homicides in the UK, more details on these figures can be seen here.
At a time when mental health services, as inadequate as they are, are being squeezed by the cuts, as they are perceived to be the harder outcomes to definitively prove successful.
Mental Health, unlike many other illnesses is not a one stop shop. CBT for some and anti-depressants for others, is not the way it is treated.
Early intervention is key to prevent people being sucked into a life of dysfunctionality, yet the way society and companies in our fragile economy stigmatise the mentally ill, many will not seek help until the illness is well advanced. This is even more worrying considering the extent of the increase in anti-depressant prescriptions just over the last 4 years.
I would expect the prescription rate to rapidly increase further as the economic crisis deepens, unemployment rises and the costs of other remedies other than drugs are cut.
Sadly, none of this should be a surprise to anyone.
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