Newshub can reveal 3353 children aged under 14 were prescribed antidepressants through community-based providers (pharmacies) in 2018.
- 1573 were female.
- 1780 were male.
Out of the 20 district health boards (DHBs) in New Zealand, 13 have more than 100 young patients who were prescribed the medication. The figure comes from the number of patients dispensed one or more prescription of antidepressants through pharmacies.
Waitemata had 395 under-14 patients in 2018, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, West Coast had just 22.
In 2017 there were 3163 under-14 patients overall.
Ministry of Health deputy director of mental health Ian Soosay told Newshub the numbers are concerning, but the prescriptions aren’t the only tool used to help under-14s.
“Antidepressants will be part of a package which is around some psychological work, some practical work like what might help children in school and some work around the whanau.”
Newshub previously revealed counselling use by students at New Zealand’s universities has grown 25 percent since 2015. In 2017, 13,137 individual students used counselling services. In 2015, 10,538 students used them.
New Zealand Medical Association chair Kate Baddock said in November the state of mental health in New Zealand is shocking.
“It’s disastrous. Increasing levels of mental distress, mental illness and limited means for managing and addressing it.
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/lifestyle/2019/05/revealed-thousands-of-under-14s-prescribed-antidepressants-in-2018.html