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Anti-depressant use on the rise: Christian group champions other treatments

by Tola Mbakwe

64.7 million prescriptions were given out in 2016, that's 3.7 million more than the year before.

The statistics have raised concerns over doctors prescribing anti-depressants too often.

Yvonne Doherty-Rowe, a locality manager for Christian charity Acacia Family Support, works with women dealing with post-natal depression.

She told Premier those concerns are warranted.

Doherty-Rowe said: "With tight schedules some GPs may prescribe anti-depressants too quickly and easily without considering the value of support services in the area."

She also added that some GPs may simply be unaware of other services available.

However, doctors have defended the increase of prescriptions.

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chair of the Royal College of GPs told The Guardian: "While at face value the rise might seem alarming, it could also be indicative of better identification and diagnosis of mental health conditions across healthcare, and reducing stigma associated with mental health in society, leading to more people with mental health conditions seeking medical assistance."

Doherty-Rowe told Premier while anti-depressants can be helpful, therapy alone or a combination of medicine and therapy can also be beneficial in fighting the issue.

She said: "A lot of the women we see might actually come and not through the GP, they might have been referred through a midwife or a house visitor and experience talking therapy which can help them with their recovery.

Doherty-Rowe explained the importance of thoroughly exploring all methods of recovery with a GP and encouraged Christians to approach with issue with compassion.

"Christians are not immune. No one's immune to depression.

"It's important that they see that they can reach out and to not feel judged. Jesus doesn't judge us and it's really easy for people to judge themselves."

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