Revelations children as young as two are being prescribed antidepressant medication have been met with shock from medical professionals and parents within the local community.
A new investigation found 1,022 Australians aged between two and six-years-old are currently being administered antidepressants, an increase of 16 per cent since 2008-09.
Wagga psychologist Michael Gilmore, who has been practicing for more than 20 years, said he was deeply disturbed when he heard the new statistics.
"Antidepressant medication is very common in today's society, but I was stunned when I heard it was being administered at such a young age," he said.
"I'm a father of children myself and I would be flabbergasted if they were prescribed that kind of medication."
Though the drug is being administered among young children at greater rates, no antidepressant medicine is recommended for use in children and the drug has been linked to suicidal behaviour in youths.
Dr Gilmore said there were other, less radical means by which to treat signs of depression and anxiety in children.
“My first point of call would be to firstly look at the services of a child specialist and to have a formal clinical mental health assessment.
“Drugs would be the absolute last resort and only used in extreme cases."
It’s not just the city’s medical professionals who are skeptical about this method of treatment, with many parents outraged this kind of medication was being prescribed to toddlers.
Mother Dannielle Hutchinson, who has a four-year-old daughter, said she was shocked doctors were turning to antidepressants to treat “natural” human emotions.
“Yes, children go through emotions of sadness, happiness and anger, but that's what kids do,” she said.
“At that age, they're still exploring their emotions and still using them to communicate when they don't understand or become frustrated.”
Ms Hutchinson said she would never put her daughter on such medication and would turn to less invasive methods of treatment should mental health issues arise.
“No way would I put my child on antidepressants,” she said.
“They have facilities to help younger children experiencing issues now, like child's play, sand play, and child therapists. Pills aren't always the answer.”