A report concluding antidepressants are effective in treating depression has been welcomed by many and widely reported in the media. As a result, #MedsWorkedForMe trended on Twitter, with thousands of people joining an online dialogue about mental health and medication.
The hashtag #MedsWorkedForMe was instigated by Holly Brockwell, founder of Gadgette, and quickly gained momentum across the platform with individuals and organisations tweeting comments, stories and support.
A tweet from the Mental Health Media Charter, led by writer and campaigner Natasha Devon, read “There should be NO shame whatsoever in taking medication for your mind." The tweet was followed by “Of course the enduring insistence on referring to antidepressants as ‘happy pills’ doesn’t help. We wouldn’t make up cutesty names for insulin or painkillers - it shows there’s still a misconception that mental illness isn’t ‘real’.”
Of course the enduring insistence on referring to antidepressants as ‘happy pills’ doesn’t help. We wouldn’t make up cutesty names for insulin or painkillers - it shows there’s still a misconception that mental illness isn’t ‘real’.— MH Media (@MHMediaCharter) February 22, 2018
Writer, mental health and eating disorders campaigner Ilona Burton, echoed a frustration at the way antidepressants have been traditionally viewed, tweeting; “Nobody feels they have to explain themselves for taking insulin or statins or having chemotherapy.”
Others praised the positive conversation the report had instigated. NHSMillion, an unofficial grassroots campaign with the aim of finding a million people who will help raise awareness of key NHS issues and show support for staff, tweeted “We love the fact that #MedsWorkedForMe is trending and people are speaking openly about depression.”
We love the fact that #MedsWorkedForMe is trending and people are speaking openly about depression. Please RT if you or someone you love has benefited from NHS care when suffering from depression. pic.twitter.com/f4jGh52Ybr— NHS Million (@NHSMillion) February 22, 2018
Originally published in The Lancet, the report on the effectiveness of antidepressants was led by researchers at Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre. It reviewed 522 already-published, randomized controlled trials that tested 21 antidepressants on more than 116,000 participants.
The report concluded that all the antidepressants were more effective than placebo for treating depression.
Responding to the report, Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said: “While we are all too aware that antidepressants can have adverse side-effects, for some people with severe depression they can make all the difference, lifting their mood sufficiently to enable them to benefit from talking therapies and other treatments."
“We still do not know the exact causes of depression but it is likely that it does have a genetic and biological component, which can most effectively be tackled by medication. For those who can benefit, this study should be welcome news.”