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Wales 'more depressed'

4th August 2011

New figures have revealed the level of depression in Wales.

depression

Data shows that last year doctors gave out more prescriptions for depression than there are people in the nation with experts concerned that the current economic climate is an underlying factor.

A total of 3.5 million prescriptions were issued in Wales in 2010, in a population of three million people, compared to Scotland where 4.3 million prescriptions were issued among a population of 5.2 million.

Figures for England for 2009 show there were 39.1 million prescriptions for a 52.5 million population.

Overall in Wales, prescriptions have risen per head of population, up nearly 70% in eight years, compared to 61% in England and 43% in Scotland.

Swansea GP Charlotte Jones, who deputy chair of the General Practitioners Committee Wales of the British Medical Association, said she suspected it was due to a lack of alternatives such as psychological therapies.

She said: “All this is combined to more mental health problems and sometimes the only recourse is to antidepressants.

“More people are coming in with anxiety, depression, stress and there are lots of factors contributing to that, jobs, worries about financing their home, worries about long-term prospects.”

Alun Thomas, deputy chief executive of mental health charity Hafal, said the “medicalisation” of depression after bereavement or a major life change may be part of the problem, with people going to their doctor asking for a prescription rather than seeking support.

Charities say some patients having to wait up to a year before they can access alternative therapies.

 

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