Anti-depressants spiraling out of control in the Southern Trust area?

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The amount of anti-depressants dispensed in the last year within the Southern Trust area has soared to 463,969, an increase of almost 40 percent since 2011, and one of the highest totals for Northern Ireland.

The figure is equivalent to more than one for every man, woman and child in the trust area, which covers a population of 335,000.

The total cost of prescribing anti-depressants to local patients has hit £2.48million annually.

The shocking figures reveal the extent to which patients within the Southern Trust, which includes the Dungannon District, are battling depression, and the alarming prevalence of mental illness within the community.

The Northern Trust had the highest amount of anti-depressant reliance in the North, with more than half a million pills dispensed (551,601), racking up a bill of £3.06m.

In the 12 months to last April, a total of 299,946 people in Northern Ireland were prescribed anti-depressant medication.

That is equivalent to one in every six of our 1.8 million population. The number of sufferers has risen significantly compared to 2012/13, when 274,770 were receiving anti-depressants.

The details were disclosed in response to an Assembly question from SDLP MLA Fergal McKinney. Shockingly, the most recent figure includes around 550 children under the age of 16, and a further 5,500 teenagers.