RCGP Wales has said a rise is mental health-related prescriptions “likely indicates a growing awareness of mental health”, while highlighting a shortage in counselling and community based mental health services.
It comes as new data outlines a rising number or prescriptions over recent years, including an increase in prescriptions for the central nervous system.
Dr Peter Saul, RCGP Wales Joint Chair, said: “The overall rise in prescriptions is unsurprising given people are living longer, and more people are living with multiple and complex conditions that may require a variety of medication.
“In terms of mental health-related prescriptions – where there has been the biggest rise in the last 10 years – the increase likely indicates a growing awareness of mental health, with more patients feeling able to disclose problems and seek help.
“Where appropriate, and after consultation with the patient, GPs may seek alternatives to medication. However, these alternatives are sometimes limited because counselling services and community mental health services are under strain.
“It is important to remember that anti-depressants can be an effective treatment for many patients. Addressing the shortage of talking therapies and community-based services would give GPs and patients a wider range of options to ensure long-term wellbeing.”