Why Are So Many Girls On SSRIs?

“Throughout May I was inundated with what felt like an endless stream of emails and ads and messages for Mental Health Awareness Month. TikTok started a new mental health hashtag to help me put my well-being first. Maybelline paid TikTok influencers to promote their make-up and pretend it was about ‘ending the stigma around anxiety’. Even the skincare brand Bioré pitched their pore-strip products as a means to ‘strip away the stigma of anxiety’ (yes, including that influencer who used a school shooting as her sales strategy).But one campaign that stuck with me came from Minded, the women’s medication company, who created a hashtag to help ‘normalise psychiatric medicine’ and ‘end the stigma’ around drugs like SSRIs.

That last one stuck with me because, really, I struggle to see the stigma. Prescriptions for antidepressants, particularly for girls, have soared in recent years. In the US, antidepressant usage has surged by nearly 65% in the past 15 years, with women twice as likely to take them as men. In the UK, antidepressant prescriptions for children aged from five to 12 increased by more than 40% between 2015 and 2021. Here, one in three teenagers have been prescribed them.”