10-26-2011, 03:17 AM
Quote:More than one in 10 Scots 'on anti-depressants'
27 September 2011 Last updated at 15:00
The number of anti-depressants being prescribed to people in Scotland is continuing to increase, according to the latest figures.
Statistics from the Scottish government suggest that more than one in 10 of the population are on the drugs.
In the last financial year a total of 4.6 million anti-depressants were prescribed in Scotland, up more than 350,000 on the previous year.
Labour accused the SNP of "ditching" efforts to cut anti-depressant use.
It is estimated 11.3% of Scots, aged over 15, take the drugs on a daily basis.
The rate of growth in the prescribing of anti-depressants increased from an annual growth of 7.6% in 2009/10 to 8.1% in 2010/11.
The continued rise in anti-depressant use comes despite a Scottish government pledge to reduce it.
In 2007 the SNP said it wanted to bring the yearly increase down to zero, and then by a further 10% each year.
Scottish Labour's public health spokesman Dr Richard Simpson, who is a fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry, said: "The fact that the number of Scots on anti-depressants is the highest level since records began - with more than one in 10 Scots now on the drugs - is extremely troubling.
"Back in 2007 the SNP set a target to bring the use of anti-depressants under control, but when the going got tough the SNP ditched the target."
"I know from my experience as a doctor that mental illness can be devastating for those who experience it. However, for all but the most serious cases, the daily use of drugs should be a last resort.
Dr Simpson said there needed to be a greater focus on early intervention and other alternative therapies.
The latest Scottish government statistics also showed a variation in the percentage of the population using anti-depressants across Scotland, with 8.3% of people living in Shetland taking the drugs compared with 12.9% in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Five health boards - Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Forth Valley and Tayside - had rates of use above the Scottish average.
GPs wrote the vast majority of those prescriptions with the remainder written by authorised prescribers such as nurses and dentists.
The figures also included prescriptions written in hospitals that were dispensed in the community, but exclude prescriptions dispensed within hospitals.
The Scottish Conservatives also criticised the SNP for its "failure" to meet promised targets for tackling people's reliance on anti-depressants.
Mary Scanlon MSP said: "It is scandalous that more than 10% of people aged 15 and over, a figure which therefore includes many young people, are reliant on anti-depressants.
"Investment in mental health with early diagnosis and early intervention is critical to get patients the support and treatment they need - when they need it."
The Scottish Liberal Democrats said the government's mental health strategy, currently out for consultation, needed to explore the "burgeoning" problem of anti-depressant use.
The party's health spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP said: "While anti-depressants have a role to play, we need to see a much more holistic approach to mental health problems in Scotland.
"We need to be confident that doctors have the time to explore alternatives to anti-depressants before reaching for the prescription pad."
Further prescription statistics, just published by the government, show a big fall in the number of drugs being prescribed to tackle obesity in Scotland.
In 2010/2011 the number fell to 95,000, a decrease of almost 30% on the previous year.
The reduction is estimated to have saved the NHS more than £1m. A separate survey suggests 65% of people in Scotland are overweight and 28% are obese.
I wonder how much of the depression is caused by poor, or in some cases, no nutrition:
Quote:Breadline Scotland: Thousands of families to be given food handouts because they can no longer make ends meet
Sep 26 2011 Torcuil Crichton
Thousands of Scots are to get food handouts because they can no longer make ends meet.
Jobcentres have been told to send desperate families to charity food banks.
Benefit cuts, unemployment and rising living costs mean an increasing number of Scots can't afford to put food on the table.
The Trussell Trust charity are setting up food banks in Glasgow and Edinburgh to add to their centres in Inverness and Dundee. They believe 60,000 Scots will eventually need their help.
Margaret Curran, Labour's Glasgow East MP, said: "It is a badge of shame that people still rely on charity to eat in the 21st century."
Audrey Flannagan is fronting the charity's Glasgow operation, which will be based in Govanhill and should be open by mid-November. She said: "It's shocking that this is happening and we have to help people in this way.
"Many people we deal with are very proud and find it difficult approaching us."
John Ross, minister at Burdiehouse Community Church in Edinburgh, is also setting up a food bank. He said: "Like any new scheme, it will probably start slowly and then build up."
The Trussell Trust's food bank in Dundee has fed 4400 men women and kids in almost 1500 households in the last year.
Last week, the UK Government gave the go-ahead to Jobcentres to send needy families to the trust.
The charity's food bank network manager Jeremy Ravn said: "We forecast we will feed up to 100,000 this financial year across the UK.
Under the scheme, people whose benefits have been delayed, or have been refused crisis loans, will be referred to their local food bank.
They will get basic food like soup, baked beans, pasta and teabags to tide them over.
CASE STUDY THE GODDARD FAMILY
MUM-OF-NINE Lisa Goddard turned to the Trussell Trust when she couldn’t feed her children.
The 41-year-old struggles to get by because her benefits have been cut and her rates have increased.
She can’t find work, so she relies on her weekly Giro cheque to survive.
Lisa finds it especially difficult to make ends meet in the winter months, when her electricity bills go through the roof.
She lives in a four-bedroom council house in Whitfield, Dundee, with seven children, her partner Mick Jones and the 21-year-old daughter of a former friend.
Lisa explained how she often buys products from the local shop on credit and is constantly battling to get food on the table.
She said: “It’s horrible. I’m a proud woman and the first thing I do when the benefits arrive is pay what I owe to the shopkeeper.
“The next thing is always to pay the electricity, especially now it’s getting cold.
“But the bills are going up and it’s getting harder and harder.”
Four months ago, she was forced to accept food parcels from
the Trussell Trust after a clerical error meant her benefits stopped temporarily.
She added: “We had nowhere else to turn to – it was that
food or nothing.”
Lisa’s 17-year-old son has just finished a college course and would have received benefits if he had not returned home.
She said: “If my son had stayed away, he would have been eligible for no-fixed-abode allowance of about £100 per fortnight.
“But because I wanted him under my roof, he won’t get that. He’s looking for work and hates to be unemployed but it would make more financial sense for us to kick him out so he can get money.”
Lisa’s sons aged 13 and nine and her daughters, who are 11, seven and six, share her house with Staci Smith and her five-year-old son.
She took Staci in when the 21-year-old fell out with her mother.
Staci receives income support of £92 a fortnight and hands over £60 to Lisa.
Lisa is already thinking about Christmas and her kids’ birthdays, which all fall in the first three months of the year.
She has started to look for cheap presents and gifts and is slowly building a stockpile.
Despite her family’s hardship, she has remained very positive.
She added: “We’re in pretty bad shape but not as bad as some.
“We all look out for each other and there’s a lot of laughs in the house.
“The living room doubles up as my eldest daughter’s bedroom, which can cause problems but we get by.
“We do our best with what we’ve got. It’s the only way to survive. It’s also reassuring to know that if it all gets too much, there are organisations like the Trussell Trust out there.”
Thousands of families starve while 65% of the population is overweight (& 28% obese)? No wonder so many are on anti-depressants.