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Anti-depressant/youth suicide link needs exploring

20 September, 2004

Turner: Anti-depressant/youth suicide link needs exploring

An upcoming meeting at which New Zealand authorities will look at requiring warning labels on anti-depressants for young people raises the broader issue of this country's imbalanced reliance on drugs to address mental health issues, United Future's Judy Turner said today.

"We need to ask some hard questions about how much of the ring-fenced health budget is spent on medical responses, to the exclusion of counselling and cognitive and psycho-therapies," Mrs Turner, United Future health spokeswoman, said.

"Every answer is not found in a pill bottle - and just as pointedly, international experience has strongly linked anti-depressants and youth suicides.

"This is a serious issue that needs to be further explored," Mrs Turner said.

"We might well find that mental health funding would be more effective if it followed the client, rather than the Government determining what they will and will not fund," she said.

ENDS

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