Antidepressant prescriptions amongst young people has increased
August 23, 2018
By: Jenna Rachid, Eloise Cadman and Alex Youngs
Research shows that the number of children prescribed antidepressants has risen by 15% in England.
According to the BBC, Scotland saw a 10% increase and in Northern Ireland there was a 6% increase in the number of children taking anti-depressants.
The most significant rise was between children aged 12 and under, where there was a 24% rise. Between April 2015 and March 2018 almost one million prescriptions were issued.
Nice guidelines do not recommend prescribing children with antidepressants unless in combination with ‘a concurrent psychological therapy.’
The NHS suggests that in rare cases, antidepressants increase the risk of suicide amongst younger people.
Dr Bernadka Dubicka, from the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: ‘Currently only one in four children and young people are treated for their mental health problems.’
The average waiting time to see specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) is around 3 months. According to the BBC, the government has pledged £1.7bn to help improve CAMHS.
Dr Shruti Garg, a CAMHS consultant, alleged another cause for the increase in prescriptions rates is the problem with young people transitioning out of CAMHS.
Dr Garg said, ‘CAMHS services across most parts of the country cover only up to the age of 16 – adult mental health services start at 18, so there is a gap for the provision of services across these services.’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified hoarding as a medical disorder for the first time.
According to The Mirror, There are currently around 1.2 million UK households which are affected by hoarding.
WHO defines hoarding as an ‘accumulation of possessions due to excessive acquisition of or difficulty discarding possessions, regardless of their actual value.’ This then leads homes to be cluttered to the extent where ‘safety is compromised.’
Megan Carnes, of charity Hoarding UK, told The Mirror that the WHO classification could help thousands of families to get more help. She hopes ‘this results in a global acceptance that this complex psychological and behavioural coping mechanism is not a ‘lifestyle choice.’
The Mirror reports ‘hoarding is one of three new conditions to be recognised, with gaming disorder and olfactory reference disorder, where people wrongly think they smell bad.’
A study reports that young people are turning to social media for mental health help.
According to a study by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), an estimated 134,000 young people sought mental health support online, from friends, peers or professionals, between July 2017 – May 2018.
A researcher at the RSA, Tom Harrison, wrote: ‘Our research uncovered a huge amount of peer-to-peer support and there is much to celebrate in that. However, a culture of openness can lead us to being hostages to fortune as more awareness leads to more conversations that risk confusing and misdirecting young people to sources of information and advice which lack credibility.’
Researchers found that depression was the most common subject discussed on social media by young people. The report warns of the danger of unmoderated discussion platforms by professional, as they risk ‘romanticising’ self-harm or suicide.
Harrison added: ‘This places a moral duty on still commonly-used platforms like Instagram and Facebook to help cash-strapped mental health providers reach the people who will benefit the most from professional advice and support.’
The RSA makes recommendations in their study and states the need for public services to make a greater effort in facilitating a conversation about mental health online. One of the suggestions recommends that the NHS provide a ‘online 101’ service, utilising social media platforms to respond to mental health concerns and provide links to relevant services.
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