Understanding depression and developing empathy | Letters
Dr Annie Hickox advocates for the powerful combination of medication plus talking therapy. And Laurel Farrington highlights how empathy reduces when we are anxious and stressed
As a mental health professional, I was glad to read Jenny Stevens’ description of her experience of antidepressant medication and how it helped her during a mental health crisis that was exacerbated by Covid-19 (I’m not ashamed medication got me through the pandemic – but we need talking therapies too, 2 March). Her account of the initial effects of medication on her sleep and her ability to return to day-to-day activities that helped keep her “sane and stable” will resonate with many who have had severe depression.
She rightly points out that despite the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines, and her own recognised need, talking therapy was repeatedly unavailable to her on the NHS. The difficulty in accessing psychological support contributes greatly to the surge in antidepressant prescribing and increases the stigma surrounding medication by those whose agenda is driven by an anti-medication ideology and misinformation.