Leading mental health reform figures, including Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry, are misleading the public with dodgy statistics that suit their causes, a prominent psychiatrist says. Adelaide University Associate Professor Jon Jureidini claimed yesterday that Professor McGorry and National Advisory Council on Mental Health former chairman John Mendoza had exaggerated or misrepresented mental healthcare statistics during the reform debate.
The widespread use of antidepressants by soldiers could be contributing to the Army’s escalating suicide rate (“Leaders criticized in Army suicides,” News, Friday). Antidepressants can increase the risk of suicide or suicidal behavior in certain population groups.
A group of U.S. senators has raised concern that the use of antidepressants and other prescription drugs for treatment of mental disorders is on the rise in the military, particularly among troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland called Wednesday for a government-funded investigation into possible links between the growing use of anti-depressants by members of the military and high rates of suicide among men and women in uniform.
Because of the FDA’s concerns, drug manufacturers have revised their warning labels to state that young adults — 18-24 years old — may be at an elevated risk of suicidal thought and behavior while using these medications.
Approximately 41 percent of our military forces serving on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq are within this same age range. In addition, 40 percent of Army suicide victims in 2006 and 2007 are believed to have taken some type of anti-depressant medication.