THE number of people across Hampshire suffering form depression has shot up, new figures have revealed.

One in eight people in Hampshire are living with depression or anxiety, according to a survey of patients registered with GPs.

According to statistics from Public Health England the figures have increased by almost 22 per cent over the last three years.

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 12.7 per cent.

Nationally, figures varied significantly between areas.

The highest rates of depression and anxiety were in Liverpool, where nearly one in five respondents noted the conditions - more than double the rate in West Berkshire.The results 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 added: “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.”