ONE in eight people in Reading are living with depression or anxiety, results of a patient survey have revealed.

Figures from Public Health England show that 12.5 per cent of registered patients in the area were suffering with at least one of the mental health conditions at the start of last year, lower than the national average.

The most recent survey showed that the rate in Reading had decreased by 1.3 per cent since 2015.

The South East as a whole had a lower than average percentage of patients with anxiety or depression. Across the region, 12.5 per cent of respondents in the survey reported one or both of the conditions, an increase of 14.6 per cent on 2015.

Stephen Buckley, from mental health charity Mind, said: "As attitudes towards mental health improve and with it the understanding that help is available, we're going to see more and more people seek support. No matter where you live, it is important that everyone has access to quality mental health services, when they need them."

Across England, 13.7 per cent of GPs' patients reported living with depression or anxiety at the start of 2017. They were more common among women, with 14.7 per cent saying they had at least one of the two conditions. For men, the rate was 12.7per cent.

The results of the survey, conducted between January and March last year, also showed significant differences according to the background of the respondent, with those from more deprived areas more likely to report anxiety or depression.

Mr Buckley said that the reasons for regional variations were unclear.
He said: "We do know that there are links between, for example, deprivation and mental wellbeing, so it may be that prevalence is genuinely higher in certain areas. On the other hand, more positively, it may be that in some places there is greater awareness that you can get some support from your GP for your mental health.

"Symptoms of mental health problems vary from person to person, but if you're experiencing depression you might feeling low, numb, worthless or without hope. Everyone experiences good days and bad days but if the feelings don't go away after a couple of weeks or keep returning, it could be a sign that you're experiencing a common mental health problem like depression or an anxiety disorder."