One in eight people in England are taking antidepressants after the lockdowns fuelled a 7% increase in demand for medication in one year, NHS statistics show. The Telegraph has the story.
Charities said the official figures were an “alarming” sign of an escalating crisis, with the numbers taking the pills rising by more than half a million in one year.
The statistics show a record 8.3 million people being prescribed the drugs, of whom two thirds are female.
It comes after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said in November that people suffering mild depression should be offered a choice of exercise or therapy instead of being put on pills.
The body recommended group classes in areas such as meditation or behavioural therapy, or opting for individual counselling sessions.
Last year Prof Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director for the NHS in England, said doctors were too often offering “a pill for every ill’’, warning that over-prescribing was costing the NHS “millions”.
The new statistics released by the NHS Business Services Authority show that since 2015/6, the total number of people on antidepressants has risen by 22%…
In the year 2020/21 8.32 million were prescribed antidepressants – up 540,000 in one year, the statistics show. Among them were 71,000 children and young people aged 17 and under – where prescribing rose by 9% in a year.
Of those, almost 12,000 were aged between 10 and 14, while 780 were below the age of 10.
Last year a survey by mental health charity Mind found that two thirds of adults said their mental health had worsened since the first national lockdown.
One quarter of those polled said they had experienced mental distress for the first time during the pandemic.