More people being treated for depression

More people in South Tyneside are being prescribed antidepressants, according to new figures.

More people on antidepressants.
More people on antidepressants.

Figures from the Open Prescribing Service show 374,028 prescriptions for drugs to combat depression were prescribed in the NHS South Tyneside CCG area in the year to March – an average of 196.4 per 1,000 patients.

This was an increase of five per cent from the year before, when the average was 186.6 per 1000 patients, and an increase of 12% from 2019-20.

Across England some 8.3 million patients received an antidepressant drug in 2021-22 – a six per cent rise on the previous year.

They include 11,878 children aged 10 to 14, and 180,455 young people aged 15 to 19.

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Leading mental health charity Mind says an increase in the number of prescriptions could be a sign of worsening mental health across the country and that the coronavirus pandemic may have caused a spike in conditions such as depression.

The charity's head of information, Stephen Buckley, said: “Recent data on increased prescription rates suggests people are once again asking for help from their GP. The increase in prescriptions could indicate the prevalence of poor mental health is likely to have increased.

"The rise in antidepressant prescriptions could also reflect a wider shift in social attitudes, as stigma surrounding mental health decreases, and awareness and understanding improves,” he added.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “We know the pandemic has taken a toll on the nation’s mental health.

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“Decisions about the best treatment options are made by clinicians jointly with their patients. It’s vital people continue to come forward for any support they may need.”