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Medicines Used in Mental Health – England – 2015/16 to 2021/22

Correction notice - data was assigned to incorrect Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) deciles in the statistical summary tables of the latest release.

Read our correction notices page for full details.

Published 7 July 2022.

This page was last reviewed and updated 2 August 2022.


Mental health is a key area of the NHS Long Term Plan published in 2019.

This publication aims to describe the prescribing of medicines used to improve mental health in England that are subsequently dispensed in the community. They do not include data on medicines used in secondary care, prisons, or issued by a private prescriber.

This is an experimental Official Statistics release.

Key findings

  • An estimated 83.4 million antidepressant drug items were prescribed in 2021/22 – a 5.07% increase from 2020/21.
  • An estimated 8.32 million identified patients received an antidepressant drug item in 2021/22 – a 5.72% increase from 2020/21. Both the number of items issued and patients receiving antidepressants increased for the 6th consecutive year.
  • An estimated 4.07 million drugs for dementia items were prescribed in 2021/22 – a 0.46% increase from 2020/21.
  • An estimated 277,000 identified patients received an drugs for dementia item in 2021/22 -a 0.52% increase from 2020/21. This indicates a return to trend after a decrease from 2019/20 followed 4 consecutive years of increases in both the estimated number of items prescribed and estimated number of identified patients.
  • Of the 5 drug groups analysed in this publication, 4 had a larger proportion of identified patients that were female. The exception to this is CNS stimulants and drugs used for ADHD, which had just over twice as many males receiving prescribing than females.
  • All 5 groups of drugs were prescribed more often to patients living in more deprived areas of England. The largest disparity was for drugs used in psychoses and related disorders, which saw almost 3 times as many patients receiving prescribing from practices in the most deprived areas of the country, compared to the least deprived.
  • In 2021/22, the most common group to receive prescribing for antidepressants, antipsychotics, and hypnotics and anxiolytics was female patients aged between 50 to 59. The most popular group for CNS stimulants and drugs used for ADHD was male patients aged 10 to 14, while the most popular group for drugs for dementia was female patients aged 85 to 89.

Resource list

Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2021/22 - Statistical summary narrative (HTML)Hypnotics and anxiolytics summary tables (Excel: 908KB)Drugs used in psychoses and related disorders summary tables (Excel: 1.5MB)Antidepressant drugs summary tables (Excel: 1.4MB)CNS stimulants and drugs used for ADHD summary tables (Excel: 340KB)Drugs used for dementia summary tables (Excel: 231KB)Background information and methodology note (ODT: 244KB)User engagement strategy (ODT: 228KB)Pre-release access list (ODT: 217KB)


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Responsible statistician: Kirsty Gray