Antidepressant prescriptions at all-time high, new figures show

NewsHub 23 April 2021
New figures show the rate of antidepressants being prescribed over the past four years is at an all-time high and there’s a huge disparity between ethnic groups.

Data released to RNZ’s Checkpoint under the Official Information Act showed the rate of anti-depressants prescribed to Māori, and Pasifika was up to 34 times less than other ethnicities.

That was despite Māori and Pasifika having higher rates of mental health difficulties.

The data from the Ministry of Health looked at the number of anti-depressants prescribed from 2017-2020.

On average other ethnicities were given antidepressants at eight times the rate of Māori, 34 times the rate of Pasifika and 16 times the rate of Asians.

That was despite research which showed one in three Māori, and one in four Pacific people experienced mental illness compared to one in five for the total population according to the latest mental health report from 2018.