Antidepressant use demands child mental health investment

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said the soaring number of children being prescribed antidepressants demands a step change in mental health services and investment. 

A BBC Scotland investigation has found that the number of children aged under 18 given antidepressants has doubled since 2009/10. This sharp increase raises the question of whether these drugs are plugging the gap in child mental health services. 

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented: 

“More and more of our young people are being prescribed antidepressants. For some it will be the right treatment but these drugs must not be used due to the absence or lack of availability of services such as talking therapies.              

“Our recent freedom of information requests uncovered children across the country still waiting almost two years for the mental health treatment they desperately need. This is utterly unacceptable and more young people will continue to be let down until action is taken to address the serious shortfall in resources.

“The Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently called on the SNP Government to double CAMHS spending so children can access the treatment they need, when they need it. The SNP failed to take the opportunity to do this in their budget earlier this year. Their delayed and unambitious mental health strategy for the next decade risks not making the difference either. 

“We want our children to be able to get the best start they can in life and only a step change in our mental health provision will achieve that.” 

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