Blackpool tops depression poll

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More people in Blackpool are on prescription anti-depressants than anywhere else in the country.

Figures obtained from the Health and Social Care Information Centre by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation show that by the end of 2013 a third of all Blackpool residents were taking anti-depressants.

Between October and December, 331 anti-depressants were prescribed for every 1,000 people in the town.

This is an increase from the previous year, when 282 anti-depressants were prescribed for ever 1,000 residents.

It compares with Central Lancashire, where in 2010 to 2011 175 anti-depressants were prescribed per 1,000 people, and the following year increased to 202 items of the drug.

Elaine Walker, head of mental health and learning disability services, said: “There are challenging issues faced by people in the town that impact upon mental health.

“Depression and anxiety are common, but fortunately there are more and more people willing to talk about their problems now which is something we encourage. There are ways we can help support people suffering with depression through various types of activities, such as guided self-help, social engagement activities and therapy.

“Medication can be considered alongside such support. In the first instance we would recommend people speak to their GP and find out what their options are.

“They can ask for a referral to the mental health service and an assessment will take place before deciding the best treatment options.”

The figures have been released in the Quality Watch report Focus On: Antidepressant Prescribing, which says there was a 165 per cent increase in antidepressants prescriptions in England between 1998 and 2012 – an average of 7.2 per cent a year.