Woman taking pill by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash

Mental health medicines statistics for July-Sept 2022 released by NHS (Updated)

NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has released its latest data, ‘Medicines Used in Mental Health’, covering July to September 2022.

The report covers five main groups of medicines: Hypnotics and anxiolytics (used to treat insomnia and anxiety); antidepressants; drugs for dementia; drugs used in psychoses and related disorders; and central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and drugs used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Key findings showed that between July and September 2022:

  • there were an estimated 21.4 million antidepressant drugs items prescribed, an increase of 0.93% from the 21.2 million items in the previous quarter
  • antidepressant drugs items also increased by 3.22% from the 20.8 million items in the same quarter in 2021/22
  • drugs for dementia items have shown a 1.68% increase, with an estimated 1.06 million items prescribed in this quarter compared to 1.04 million items in the previous quarter
  • drugs for dementia items also increased by 3.27% from the 1.02 million items in the same quarter in 2021/22

In the 31-month period since the implementation of lockdown measures during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, between March 2020 and September 2022, there were an estimated:

  • 2.77 million more antidepressant prescription items issued than expected based on historical trends, however, this was not a statistically significant increase for the period
  • 5.34 million more CNS stimulants and drugs used for ADHD items issued than expected based on historical trends, a statistically significant increase for the period

The data in this report is based on community prescribing and excludes hospitals and prisons.

To see the full statistical report go to https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/statistical-collections/medicines-used-mental-health-england/medicines-used-mental-health-england-quarterly-summary-statist

Contact Information

Sahdia Hassen

Senior Media and Campaigns Officer

NHS Business Services Authority


Notes to editors

Notes for editors:

  • Prescription ‘items’ refer to individual drugs or inhalers etc. on a prescription form, however a ‘prescription’ can include multiple medicines on it.
  • These statistics are based on the financial year and not on the calendar year as some other sources of data may be.
  • These medicines are classified by their main usage. However, they can sometimes be prescribed for other reasons. For example, some antidepressants can be used to treat people suffering from chronic primary pain. We don’t capture this at NHSBSA during processing, and so can’t determine the reason that a prescription was issued. Due to this, these statistics may not give a completely accurate estimation of the population receiving treatment for a specific mental health condition. Drug therapy is just one way that mental health conditions can be treated. These statistics do not tell us how many patients access other forms of treatment, such as psychological therapy.
  • Statistical significance refers to when a result from data generated by testing or experimentation is not likely to occur randomly or by chance but is instead likely to be attributable to a specific cause.
  • Quarterly - occurring once every quarter of a year.