Huge rise in mental health drug prescriptions across Tayside
Nhs figures show amount of drugs handed out has grown steadily over the last decade
Prescriptions for mental health drugs have almost doubled over the past 10 years, new NHS figures reveal.
A total of 1,149,216 prescriptions for antidepressants, ADHD drugs and medicines to treat conditions such as psychoses and dementia, were recorded in Tayside and Fife in 2016-17.
A decade ago, prescriptions totalled 648,968 and the number grew steadily year-on-year, with the largest overall increase observed in dementia treatment.
Prescriptions for dementia drugs have more than tripled since 2006/7.
The news comes shortly after Mental Health Awareness Day, which aimed to give mental health staff, patients and other stakeholders a platform to share experiences and discuss what needs to be done to improve care.
NHS Tayside interim clinical director for mental health and learning disability services Dr Stuart Doig said: “Drug therapy can be important in helping people recover from a mental illness, as well as help prevent them from relapsing or preventing their condition deteriorating.
“Not all mental health conditions require drug treatment and some conditions may respond to psychological, educational or social interventions.
“However, it is increasingly common that patients receive a combination of drug therapy and these other interventions to help them recover from their illness.”
Dr Doig explained antidepressants are used for a range of medical conditions, such as chronic pain, meaning a rise in prescribed items does not necessarily mean a rise in rates of mental health problems.
He added increased public awareness of mental health conditions means people are more likely to seek support from their doctor.
Dr Doig said: “Another important point is that the number of items prescribed is not the same as the number of people receiving prescriptions and there will be variation in the number of items prescribed to a person in a year depending on how often they receive prescriptions.
“Increased levels of identification and diagnosis of mental health conditions, including dementia, means that more patients are accessing important treatments that can improve the quality of life for them and their families.”
firstname.lastname@example.org Primary school pupils in Fife are being offered mindfulness lessons in a move to boost their mental health.
Four schools in the region have signed up for the Do-bemindful Initiative, which includes exercises on breathing and listening, as well as strategies for managing emotions and improving relationships with others.
Louise Smith, who leads the initiative, said mindfulness had the potential to raise attainment in schools by nurturing children’s ability to focus their attention – a life skill she described as fundamental in learning
She said: “This is not an airyfairy thing. It is backed up by scientific evidence. Initially the research was all about adults and mental health, looking at mindfulness as a way of helping with anxiety and depression.
“Then there was a move to looking at how mindfulness affects young people, and the benefits were pretty phenomenal.”
She added preliminary sessions with children affected by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder had shown positive results.
“What is quite unique is that all the parents belonging to the school get access. The reason for opening it up to parents is there’s a huge focus on closing the attainment gap in Scotland.”
Jacqueline Price, acting head of Fife Council’s education service, said: “We know that young people can face challenges and emotional health is not separate from their general health and wellbeing.”
Louise Smith has created an initiative to boost pupils’ mental wellbeing.