Depression Up 11.5% Over 3 Years

The number of people suffering from depression in England has grown by almost half a million in just three years, according to a new report by SSentif Intelligence.

Analysing the data from the NHS Quality Outcomes Framework, the group discovered that the number of registered patients with depression increased by 11.5% from 2008 to 2011, with some primary care trusts (PCTs) relating hikes of over 40% in people seeking help for depression.

As a result, the number of prescriptions for antidepressants has also increased by around a fifth over the same timeframe.

On a local level, South West Essex PCT exhibited the largest increase in depression occurrence with a 52.5% rise, while Yorkshire & The Humber came top of the county league with a 19.3% rise.

Elsewhere, the response showed a 7.8% rise in cases of dementia in England, although the increase was much higher in some areas, such as in the West Midlands, which saw an growth of 17.7%.

At the regional level, North East Lincolnshire PCT reported that the number of patients suffering from dementia increased by over a third in the three-year period.

“PCT spending on mental health has increased by 10% in the last three years, but the prevalence of mental illness has increased by 14%,” commented SSentif’s managing director, Judy Aldred.

And, describing an even worse picture, Aldred claimed that “the real numbers are likely to be much higher as many people do not seek GP support for their conditions.”

Commenting on the results, Emer O’Neill, chief executive of Depression Alliance, noted that the rise is as a result of a number of different factors.

“The level of self awareness has meant more people are going to their GP for help, while GPs are getting better at diagnosing more quickly,” O’Neill commented.

The economic downturn has had an effect with a lot of people at risk of losing their job, she noted, and warned that even though the numbers are rising, “they still do not nearly representing the high numbers of people living with depression in the UK.”


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