Depression rates highest in region

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WIGAN is the depression capital of Greater Manchester.

The borough had more residents admitted to hospital for depressive disorders than anywhere else in the region between 2009 and 2012.

In Wigan, there were 77.5 per 100,000 residents admitted to hospital for depression – far greater than the national average of 32.1 and higher than any other area in Greater Manchester.

There are also higher rates of Alzheimer’s and other related dementia than nearby boroughs – 176 per 100,000.

Suicide rates were also higher – 161 per 100,000.

Levels of self-harm were only higher in Salford and the mortality rates for adults under the age of 75 with serious mental illness were only higher in Bolton and Oldham.

The figures come from the new Community Mental Health Profiles 2013, which show the range of mental health indicators in each local authority in the country.

The report also takes into account factors which affect mental health such as deprivation, employment and alcoholism levels.

Jan Campbell, NHS commissioning manager at Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “What the mental health profile tells us is that the context of people’s lives in Wigan makes it harder to have good mental health than some other places.

“The number of young people not in employment education or training is high as are the numbers living in deprivation. Alcohol is a significant problem for the borough; the number of people drinking to harmful levels is a real concern.

“Alcohol, deprivation and lack of meaningful activity all contribute to poor mental health. But surprisingly the percentage of adult’s diagnosed with depression is significantly below the national average. In addition to availability of local primary care psychology services, one of the things we know about Wigan is that people here are very supportive of each other. Families and friends rally round each other when life is difficult. This support and connection with family and friends is good for mental health.

“The more that people connect with others and are aware of how they and the people around them are feeling the better equip they are to deal with challenging situations. Being physically active and learning new skills can also improve your mental health.

“If we were to suggest a prescription for good mental health it would be to connect with people around you. Get active; keep learning, and take notice of how you feel and how other around you feel. Try to enjoy the things that you see around you and share some of your talents and gifts with others. Small things that you do for other people can make a difference to their lives and to your own.”

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