MENTAL illness is a serious issue which thankfully is being taken far more seriously today than perhaps it once was.

There can be many causes and triggers for depression, and all patients deserve the most appropriate treatment for their condition.

If that is the prescription of anti-depressants then that is a matter for the patient and their GP.

The report which highlighted the increase in prescriptions also provided evidence of a link between deprivation and depression.

In the last five years there has been a number of warnings from mental health charities and individuals that welfare reform is having a damaging effect on people.

Politicians have heard how benefit sanctions and disability assessments have pushed people to become suicidal.

Jackson Carlaw will be well aware of these cases and he will be well aware of the link between deprivation and depression.

In many matters of health, mental or physical, just as with poverty, prevention is better than cure.

While as an opposition MSP he is expected to call the Scottish Government to account he should also take account of the bigger picture.

If he wants to talk about prescriptions by all means talk to the Scottish Government, but if he wants to talk about addressing some preventable root causes perhaps it is Mr Cameron, Mr Osborne and Mr Duncan Smith he should call.