In a recent speech at The Guardian Public Services Summit, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg underlined his belief that the Government was failing the public by putting too much emphasis on medication and not enough on mental health options. He said "Britain has become the true Prozac Nation. I believe this trend has gone too far. This was in response to research his party had carried out that revealed that, for some psychotherapy and counselling services, patients currently have to wait up to two years before they are seen.
Mr Clegg blames the lack of an adequate mental health service offering as one of the major contributions towards the rise in the number of prescription medications being sold in Britain today. A startling 31 million prescription drugs such as Prozac were issued in England alone in 2006. Whilst Mr Clegg acknowledges the role medication plays in alleviating the symptoms of many conditions, he feels that this should not become the default medical solution to all conditions. He vowed to invest in mental health services to reduce long waiting times that could put some people off the treatment and make others wait for an uncomfortable amount of time for care that could change their lives dramatically.
A Department of Health spokesperson said that that over the next three years the Government would be investing and additional £170m into psychological therapies to help those who need it most. Such a long wait to meet with a mental health professional is not only dangerous for some patients and conditions, but as many mental health issues are progressive, by the time they are seen they will require a far longer period of therapy to achieve the same results.