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Medicines used in mental health – England – 2015/16 to 2023/24

Correction notice: a category in the figure 1 and figure 2 charts for antidepressants was incorrectly labelled as 'unknown' instead of 'total'.

More details are available on our correction notices page.

Published 11 July 2024


Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2023/24 - Statistical summary narrative (HTML)


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

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

The Medicines Used in Mental Health publication is an official statistics release.

Key findings

Between April 2023 and March 2024, there were increases in both the number of items and identified patients in 4 out of the 5 British National Formulary (BNF) sections covered in these statistics. This was the same as last year.

Antidepressant drugs were the BNF section with the largest number of items prescribed in 2023/24 at 89 million, an increase of 3.3% since 2022/23. It also had the largest number of identified patients, an increase of 2.1% to 8.7 million compared to 2022/23.

Prescribing of CNS stimulants and drugs for ADHD increased for both adults and children since 2022/23. Adults rose by 28% to 150,000 identified patients, while children rose 9.9% to 120,000 identified patients in 2023/24.

In the past year, items in the drugs for dementia section increased by 5.8% to 4.5 million and identified patients increased by 5.6% to 310,000 in 2023/24. It remained the only BNF section where prescribing was higher in the least deprived areas.

Resource list

Background information and methodology note (HTML)

Pre-release access list (HTML)


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Responsible statistician: Grace Libby