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Medicines Used in Mental Health – England – Quarterly Summary Statistics April to June 2021

Published 9 September 2021


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

Between April to June 2021:

  • 20.5 million antidepressant drugs were prescribed. This is a 2% increase from 20.2 million items in the previous quarter, and a 7% increase from 19.2 million items for the same quarter in 2020/21.
  • Drugs for dementia did not show a downward trend for this quarter. This is a change from the downwards trend in four of the last five quarters, with 997,000 drugs for dementia prescribed, a 2% increase from 982,000 items in the previous quarter. However, this is a 4% decrease from 1.04 million items in the same quarter in 2020/21.

In the 16-month period since the implementation of lockdown measures during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, between March 2020 and June 2021:

  • 1.2 million more antidepressant prescription items were issued than expected based on historical trends. However, this was not a statistically significant increase for the period.
  • 481,000 fewer drugs for dementia prescription items were issued than expected based on historical trends. This was a statistically significant decrease for the period.

Resource List

Medicines Used in Mental Health - Quarterly summary narrative April to June 2021 (HTML)

Supporting summary tables (Excel: 83KB)

Background information and methodology note (PDF: 232KB)

User engagement strategy (PDF: 194KB)

Pre-release access list (PDF: 122KB)


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Responsible statistician: Kirsty Gray