A recent documentary revealed some disturbing statistics regarding Ireland and prescription medication.
Over 450,000 people in Ireland are on anti-depressants. Anti-depressants account for approximately 3.5 million prescriptions per year and they are therefore one of the most regularly prescribed medications in the Ireland.
The Irish Medical Journal reported last year that there was evidence that benzodiazepine (benzos), the form of drug used for treating anxiety in some instances, was inappropriately prescribed in multiple cases.
I am aware of the life-changing effects that such medication has for mental health patients. However, in light of these reports, I believe that the prescription of medication for mental health patients in Ireland needs to be re-evaluated.
Rather than medication being the first point of call for patients suffering with moderate mental health issues other options, such as increased counselling, should also be considered.
Therefore, I am calling on the Minister to investigate the use of prescription medication in addressing mental health nationwide in order to avoid over-prescription and erroneous prescription.