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Pill bottle alone no answer to teen depression

Media Statement For immediate release Wednesday, 24 March, 2004

Turner: Pill bottle alone no answer to teen depression

Teen depression needs more mental health services and support for families, not just medication, United Future health spokeswoman Judy Turner said today.

Expressing concern about the provision of SSRI anti-depressants to teenagers, Mrs Turner but called for sensible action that takes the complexities of treating depression into account.

"Until conclusive data is available on the provision of these drugs to teens, it is important that the public do not make their own private decisions on whether their young adults continue to take these drugs, but do so in consultation with their GP", Mrs Turner said

"Simply taking yourself or your teenagers off this medication is dangerous - the fact is that anyone experiencing depression requires much more than merely being medicated.

"Ongoing and intensive support from families, friends, schools and health professionals is vital in treating depression.Medication should always be seen as tool, not a stand-alone answer," she said.

"If studies due to be released soon indicate unacceptable risks, then at that stage I will support the Greens call for a ban on these drugs for under-18s, but until then, it is merely a knee-jerk reaction on their part, ignoring the fact GPs have been advised to seek specialist advice before prescribing these drugs," Mrs Turner said.

She said she had been frustrated by the Greens wavering position on drugs

"They call for bans on these anti-depressants without any certainty on the risks involved

"And this is the party that blithely ignores but ignores the established risks associated with cannabis - harm to the central nervous system, neurotoxicity, cognitive decline, psychosis, exacerbation of schizophrenia, and damage to the respiratory, immune and cardiovascular systems

"This is serious tunnel vision and very selective political game-playing on important health issues," Mrs Turner said.


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