MONTREAL - A study by a McGill researcher has revealed that a staggering 13 million prescriptions for anti-depressants were filled last year in Quebec.

More than a third of all Canadian anti-depressant prescriptions are written in Quebec with half of the new prescriptions being written for those aged 60 and over, according to the study compiled by psychology professor Marie-Josee Fleury.

Around one quarter of all medical consultations in Quebec revolve around mental health, the same study revealed.

The increased total represents an all-time high for the province. The study attributes the higher proportion of prescription use to the province's relatively more comprehensive medication insurance coverage.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier of the Montreal General Hospital says that the spike in anti-depressant prescriptions might be a result of better medial diagnoses.

"I think there's maybe more isolation among elderly people. Families are maybe not as united or people have moved away, especially in the Anglo population of Montreal," she says.

But Tamara Peel of the Teapot Community Centre bemoans that fact that health resource alternatives to medication are not made more readily available.

"I often ask whether any other service is offered other than medication. The (health authorities) often don't really say that they have any services offered."