NEW figures have revealed where the highest numbers of anti-depressants are prescribed to people in Essex.
Doctors in Tendring prescribe the most anti-depressants in the whole of the East of England, with 1.8 prescriptions given out per person in 2016.
The district had the highest proportion of prescriptions for the size of its 141,200 population last year.
Maldon also made the top ten with 1.6 prescriptions per person in 2016, despite having the lowest population of all districts in the east of England (62,700).
Braintree and Colchester are at 15th and 16th places respectively out of the list of 47 districts.
The data, collected by Exasol, shows a large regional variation across the country and the company says it shows "a clear link to deprivation in the north and east of England."
The highest prescribing district in the country is Blackpool, the only district in England where more than two prescriptions per person per year were given out by GPs.
The data captures every GP prescription dispensed at all pharmacies across England in the past six years.
According to Exasol, in 1991, English pharmacies handed over nine million prescriptions for anti-depressants, in 2001 it was 24.3 million, in 2011 it was 46 million and now we have reached 64 million prescriptions.
Sean Jackson, chief marketing officer at EXASOL says: “When analysing the data, we can see that the prescribing of anti-depressants has increased by a large amount in recent years. However, this is only one part of the story: when we delve deeper, we find that the data can uncover further information such as geographic differences across the country.
"With the right data and the right technology, you can turn any problem into a data problem. People suffering from mental health problems need support and respect, these insights can direct help to the right places and it highlights where more resources are necessary.
"By uncovering insights using big data, it shows the factual reality of the problem. However, to be able to analyse such enormous data-sets requires the right tool for the job. We hope the findings will help to raise awareness of this important issue."
The company has issued a 'heat map' which shows the highest-prescribing areas in red:
Here's the full list of areas in the east of England, with the highest prescribers at the top:
- North Norfolk
- Great Yarmouth
- King's Lynn and West Norfolk
- Mid Suffolk
- St Edmundsbury
- South Norfolk
- East Cambridgeshire
- Suffolk Coastal
- North Hertfordshire
- Forest Heath
- South Cambridgeshire
- Castle Point
- Central Bedfordshire
- East Hertfordshire
- Epping Forest
- Welwyn Hatfield
- Three Rivers
- St Albans