THE levels of mental health problems in Scotland is now extremely concerning, at around one in three of adults and children; not long ago it was one in four. The most common problem is depression, which is no surprise considering the levels of poverty, anxieties about losing jobs, work stress, climate change, drug deaths, and of course Brexit.

For children much of the anxiety and depression is associated with body image and bullying. Addiction to screen time on their phones generates its own anxieties. Some are viewing them five hours a day and suffering sleep deprivation.

For too many of us self-medicating on alcohol, nicotine, illicit drugs and over-the-counter medication has made our mental health many times worse.

There is a presumption by too many of us that there are pills to solve any problem, physical or mental. Hard-pressed NHS workers and GPs too quickly resort to writing prescriptions for antidepressants because they have neither the time nor alternative resources to offer any other solutions like counselling, access to psychologists and the likes ("Antidepressant prescriptions soar by 48% to almost a million in 10 years", The Herald, October 23).

The real scandal in all of this is that, as has been known for decades, antidepressants are not the solution. They cost the NHS a fortune, only work for a tiny number of people and are highly addictive. People become trapped in years of misery, when they discover they don’t work.

We have been conned into believing that depression is caused by chemical imbalances in our brains that pills can solve. This is a cruel lie, because as any medic knows there is no known way of testing if the human brain has a chemical deficiency. So, if we cannot establish the level of a chemical deficiency, how can they prescribe the correcting dose of that chemical? The answer is they cannot.

Our mental health services have been driven for decades by Big Pharma producing expensive drugs to solve depression. That industry knows only too well that antidepressants do not work, so now they have given up spending any of their massive profits in research on this. However. they are always happy to sell useless antidepressants to meet the ever growing demand.

Modern, better-trained and enlightened psychiatrists and mental health workers are well aware that that the most common cause of depression is our ignorance of the fact that most of us do not understand how our minds work. We are overwhelmed by anxieties from much that is going one in our minds and need to learn to understand what are the real causes of our misery and what we ourselves can start to do to address it.

Access to clinical psychologists, cognitive behavioural practitioners, mindfulness teachers and anything that empowers us to learn about our mental health and how to resolve it is the answer. Not useless antidepressants.

Max Cruickshank, Glasgow G12.