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.