According to an investigation carried out by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), the number of patients under the age of 17 being prescribed antidepressants rose by 26 per cent between April 2015 and April 2020.
Analysis of the data, published in The Pharmaceutical Journal showed that this figure has been steadily rising since 2015, but peaked in March 2020 during the first Covid-19 lockdown, and again during December 2020.
The figures remain highest in girls, with 17,902 girls and 9,855 boys prescribed antidepressants during March 2020. This represented an 8 per cent increase in the number of patients being prescribed antidepressants since 2019.
The number of antidepressant prescriptions for girls remained high in the second (17,311) and third (17,088) lockdowns, but were still lower than the first.
One advanced mental health pharmacist at Northeast London NHS Foundation Trust, Beryl Navti, told the RPS that the increase could be contributed to the breakdown in routines for many children during lockdowns and school closures.