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GPs report ‘85% increase’ in patients with mental health conditions

GPs are spending more than a day a week treating patients with stress, anxiety or depression, a survey has found.

Royal London, a life insurance, pensions and investment company, surveyed 250 GPs finding that 85% had seen an increase in the number of patients suffering mental health conditions in the past five years.

GPs typically referred 23% of the patients they diagnose to specialist mental health services, the survey suggested.

It further found stigma around mental health conditions remain, with:

  • 45% of patients delaying making an appointment because they are ashamed or fear being stigmatised; and
  • 16% of patients asked GPs to ‘camouflage’ details of their diagnosis when writing a fit note.

A supporting survey of 2,000 adult patients found that main reasons for people experiencing stress, anxiety or depression were work (34%), loneliness or feelings of isolation (32%), and strains on relations with friends or family (30%).

Jennifer Gilchrist, proposition lead at Royal London said: ‘The survey results show that we still need to raise awareness of the number of people who suffer from stress, anxiety or depression and that people need to be encouraged to visit their GP sooner to seek help and support.’


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