Over the past few months, I have been asked numerous times about the current Mental Health situation.
The NHS prescribed a record number of antidepressants last year, fuelling an upward trend that has seen the number of pills given to patients more than double over the last decade.
The figures raised questions over whether the rise shows doctors are handing out the drugs out too freely or whether it means more people are getting help to tackle their anxiety, depression and panic attacks.
Prescriptions for 64.7m items of antidepressants – an all-time high – were dispensed in England in 2016, the most recent annual data from NHS Digital showed. That was 3.7m more than the 61m items dispensed during 2015.
It also represents a massive 108.5% increase on the 31m antidepressants which pharmacies dispensed in 2006.
There are no figures for how many people are being given antidepressants, though, as NHS Digital does not record that. The 64.7m items were used to treat depressive illness, generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic attacks, NHS Digital said.
The 64.7m items dispensed in 2016 cost the NHS £4.12 each on average, or £266.6m of its overall £9.2bn annual spend on medication of all types. However, that is less than the £291.5m the drugs cost in 2006, because antidepressants have more than halved in cost from the £9.39 items typically cost a decade ago. This bodes the question “is the treatment a patient receiving the best or the most cost-effective?”
It is already readily accepted that CBT has limited success compared to NLP however because of the speed of successful cases it makes it more attractive financially to the NHS.
In my opinion the problem the NHS is in a no-win situation through no fault of there own. With the rolls and demands in peoples lives ever-increasing, emphasis needs to be focused on the education rather than the fire fighting. training in a good life management system needs to be taught and developed in secondary schools. This will give young people the foundations to be able to constantly manage their lives.
Only then will the NHS be able to concentrate on the people that truly have mental demons, rather than fire fighting the monster society has created.