London: Nearly half a million more adults in England are now taking antidepressants compared with the previous year, says a new report.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), the number of prescriptions for children and teenagers has also risen, reports the BBC.
From 2021-22, there was a 5 per cent rise in the number of adults receiving them — from 7.9 million in the previous 12 months to 8.3 million.
It is the sixth year in a row that there has been an increase in both patients and prescriptions.
An estimated 83.4 million antidepressant drug items were prescribed between 2021 and 2022, which marks a 5 per cent increase from the previous year, the report said.
There was also a rise of just over 8 per cent in youngsters taking the medication as well — from 10,994 to 11,878 among 10 to 14-year-olds and from 166,922 to 180,455 in the 15 to 19-year-olds.
“The fallout from the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis mean we should undoubtedly be concerned around the current pressures on people’s mental health,” Alexa Knight, who is in charge of policy at charity Rethink Mental Illness, was quoted as saying.
“But the rising number of antidepressant prescriptions could also be a welcome indicator that people feel more comfortable seeking support when they need it,” Knight added.
She mentioned that it is important people are offered different treatments based on the severity of their depression.