NZ: Homeless Most Likely to be Fed Antidepressants When Seeking Help


From Stuff: “In research yet to be published, Otago University associate professor Nevil Pierse has found that the most common interaction a homeless person has with the state is being prescribed anti-depressants.

Pierse followed 390 homeless people in Hamilton as they navigated the Government system.

The frequency of anti-depressant prescriptions, he says, was one of the most startling findings.

‘But if you think about it, from the system’s point of view, MSD [Ministry of Social Development] drives them to health and disability … And the GP looks at them … they’re homeless, but he can’t do anything about the housing … so he gives them what? What is the answer to the medical problem that’s caused by homelessness? You’re depressed because you’re homeless. Well, here’s an anti-depressant. It’s a bit facetious, and there are a lot of underlying mental health issues. But it is talking about a system that’s not working, wasn’t working.'”

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  1. Thank you for this short article. There are many times ive wanted to make a comment but haven’t but i felt i had to here because this is exactly how i became part of the mental health industry. I couldn’t pay my rent because i had such high student loan payments and i couldn’t do both. I couldn’t find an apartment where i could bring my little dog and afford rent and pay interest and penalties because i was behind on my payments because i had to care for my mother who had undiagnosed cancer but was not well. The only people who offered me help were mental health workers but i had to have a mental health diagnosis namely depression but how can you be homeless and be somewhat worried and unhappy to a certain extent. When i saw a psychiatrist which was required i was immediately within 10 minutes probably more like 5 prescribed an antidepressant remeron which i had to take and then began prescriptions of one drug after another including antipsychotics mood stabilizers etc. All these drugs made it less likely that i could solve my economic difficulties. After 9 weeks i found an apartment but at what price. Disability poverty and a life full of psychiatric appointments.Of course my student loans never got repaid nor was i able to complete my education and finish getting my phd which was what i dreamed of doing.

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