According to figures obtained by the BBC, the number of prescriptions for anti-depressant drugs such as prozac have increased by more than 40 per cent during the past four years.
Charities and health professionals alike believe part of the reason could be linked to individuals feeling pressured by job insecurities and an increase in financial strain.
Chief executive of the charity Depression Alliance UK, Emer O’Neill, said: “There is an increase in the number of people suffering from depression certainly, and the economic downturn has had an impact on that.
However, she also commented that part of the increase could be attributed to the stigma of depression having lifted significantly during the past few years, with individuals now having access to better information than ever before and with more and more people feeling comfortable enough to come forward and talk about mental health.
The sharp rise saw referrals for talking therapies rise four-fold last year and has prompted the government to increase access to therapies which would slow the demand for antidepressants.
According to figures from the NHS Prescription Services, the number of prescriptions for selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors rose by 43 per cent to just under 23 million a year between 2006 and 2010. The same figures also showed an increase in the prescriptions of various other drugs.
Paul Burstow, care services minister has said that the recession has left many facing difficult financial times, but if they do experience any mental health problems the NHS is well placed to help.
“We’re boosting funding for talking therapies by £400m over the next four years. This will ensure that modern, evidence-based therapies are available to all who need them, whether their depression or anxiety are caused by economic worries or anything else.”
For further information on debt counselling and counselling for depression please visit the relevant fact-sheets. Alternatively visit our homepage and use the search tool to find a counsellor in your local area.