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Antidepressants: Children

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 216246, tabled on 4 February 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to ensure a reduction in the overall amount of anti-depressants prescribed for children; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

12 February 2019

The Department expects clinicians to prescribe anti-depressants for children responsibly and in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

The NICE guidelines for ‘Depression in children and young people: identification and management’ sets out clear guidance on the identification and management of depression in children and young people aged between five and 18 years. Based on the stepped care model, the guidance makes clear the need for treatment to be based on the individual needs of children and young people, the characteristics of their depression and their personal and social circumstances. Through this it supports healthcare professionals, children, young people and their parent(s)/carer(s) in identifying and accessing the most effective interventions. Further information can be found at the following link:

This is consistent with the needs-led approach set out in Future in Mind, the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and the recently published NHS Long Term Plan.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care