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Medicines Used in Mental Health – England – 2015/16 to 2022/23

Correction notice - model of expected items based on pre-pandemic prescribing trends was trained incorrectly in this release.

Read our correction notices page for more details.

Published 6 July 2023

This page was last reviewed and updated 15 September 2023


Mental health is a key area of the NHS Long Term Plan published in 2019.

This publication aims to describe the prescribing of medicines used to improve mental health in England that are subsequently dispensed in the community. They do not include data on medicines used in secondary care, prisons, or issued by a private prescriber.

The Medicines Used in Mental Health publication is an experimental Official Statistic release.

Key findings

In 2022/23:

Of the 5 British National Formulary (BNF) sections covered in these statistics, 4 had increases in items and identified patients across 2022/23.

The only BNF section to decrease since 2021/22 was hypnotics and anxiolytics. Items fell by 2% to 14 million and identified patients fell by 2% to 1.9 million in 2022/23

There were 86 million antidepressant items prescribed in 2022/23, to an estimated 8.6 million identified patients.

Prescribing of Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulants and drugs for ADHD increased by 32% in adults over 18 and 12% in children 17 and under. 2022/23 was the first time that more adult patients have been prescribed drugs from this section than child patients, in the time period covered by these statistics.

Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulants and drugs for ADHD was the only BNF section with more male patients than female patients. In the other 4 this was the reverse, with more female patients than male patients.

Resource list

Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2022/23 - Statistical summary narrative (HTML)

Background information and methodology note (HTML)

User engagement strategy (HTML)

Pre-release access list (HTML)


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Responsible statistician: Grace Libby