GPs forced to prescribe antidepressants to young people denied mental health support

A survey by psychological well being charity, Stem4, discovered that over one in 10 12- to 18-year-olds have been prescribed antidepressants by their GP with out evaluation or analysis by NHS youngster and adolescent psychological well being providers (CAMHS).

Present NICE tips say that the one antidepressant appropriate for youngsters, fluoxetine, ought to solely be prescribed to youngsters and younger individuals after an evaluation and analysis by a baby and adolescent psychiatrist.

Stem4 mentioned that GPs are below growing strain to ignore NICE tips and prescribe antidepressants to under-18s, both as a result of their younger sufferers are being refused entry to NHS CAMHS providers and psychological interventions, or as a result of they’re caught on lengthy NHS CAMHS ready lists.

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Psychological well being referrals

An earlier survey by stem4 reported that that half of the respondents noticed a majority of kid psychological well being referrals to CAMHS rejected.

An East of England GP who responded to the survey mentioned: ‘CAMHS are utterly overwhelmed. Even when a referral is accepted, they depend on major care to prescribe and comply with up while sufferers are ready for remedy. The ready lists for remedy are far too lengthy.’

One other respondent reported that a CAMHS service in north-west England, having rejected a self-harming teen for psychological remedy, informed the GP to contemplate beginning the affected person on antidepressants.

The survey comes in opposition to the backdrop of major care providers having to choose up workload from stretched secondary care.


Dr Nihara Krause, guide scientific psychologist, and chief government of Stem4 mentioned antidepressants equivalent to SSRIs are efficient in treating despair and different psychological well being situations below evaluation and steerage of a specialist and needed to be a part of a mixture of therapies.

‘These younger sufferers who’ve been unable to entry therapies and have solely been prescribed antidepressants are prone to face nonetheless extra anguish when making an attempt to come back off them,’ mentioned Dr Krause.

She added that the survey findings instructed the UK was ‘in all probability heading in the direction of a deepening psychological well being disaster which would require extra intensive intervention in the long run’.

Dr Krause added: ‘The NHS is treating extra younger individuals with psychological well being difficulties than ever earlier than, but when solely half of younger individuals who ask for assist are capable of entry efficient psychological therapies, then our ambitions aren’t sufficiently big.

‘What we’d like is significant funding in secondary care and entry to efficient psychological well being assist in each faculty, faculty and college throughout the UK in addition to specialist psychological well being practitioners supporting major care suppliers.’

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