"The danger here is that people taking these drugs will see only the headlines (and Radio New Zealand seems to have been about little else this morning) and just stop taking the tablets. I can't emphasise enough how dangerous this could be."
I really don't think people who are taking these meds will stop, because if they are like me, they know how much these meds have changed their life. Unless they have just started, as in the case of Lucy's friend. The initial side effects are horrific, really frightening, but in my experience ssri's have changed my life, and I was one who believed for many years that I could find a natural, spiritual, therapeutic solution (after the self-prescribed Class A, B and C drug treatment stopped working many years previous).
I think there is serious overprescription of anti-depressants. My boyfriend says they had no effect on him when an exgirlfriend insisted he go on them. Maybe he just has a naturally dark pessimistic nature (err, he has! One of the many reasons I love him - there's too much forced (and false) positivity in the world!).
For a really interesting, and disturbing, look at the implications of over subscribing anti-depressants watch Anthropologist Helen Fisher talk about the chemistry of love.
As I've always suspected - everything is chemical!