Common and severe mental illness

Mental health is a high public health priority area.

Common mental health disorders are conditions that cause marked emotional distress and interfere with daily function, but do not usually affect a person's cognition, insight and perception of reality. They comprise different types of depression and anxiety, and include obsessive compulsive disorders. Severe mental illness includes schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and other psychoses.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult and stressful time for many people. While the majority of people remained mentally well, studies have reported increases in levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep issues and stress.  Evidence has shown it exacerbated existing mental health issues. 

Later presentations to GPs, cancellation of appointments and longer waits to see specialists or access specialist services will have had an impact. Some people may also be reluctant to address concerns or attend GP practices due to fear of catching Covid-19. These missed diagnoses mean that treatment may be delayed or doesn't happen, which may lead to worsening mental health. The legacy of the pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis will mean that monitoring mental health is of vital importance.

Key findings

Figures from the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) 2021/22 (unless stated otherwise) show that:

  • In the Lancashire-12 area, there are 157,171 adults (aged 18+ years) with a confirmed diagnosis of depression, accounting for 15.5% of the total 18+ registered population. This is higher than the England prevalence of 12.7%.
  • In Blackburn with Darwen (22,239|16.2%) and Blackpool (29,314|20.6%) the prevalence of QOF recorded adult depression is also above the England average.
  • For the NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (L&SC ICB) footprint this prevalence is 15.8% (229,268 adults 18+ years).
  • In the Lancashire-12 area (2021/2022), there are 13,092 persons (all ages) with a diagnosis of severe mental illness (includes schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder or other psychoses), accounting for 1.04% of the total registered population. This is higher than the England prevalence of 0.95%.
  • In Blackburn with Darwen (2,229|1.23%) and Blackpool (2,794|1.58%) the prevalence of recorded severe mental illness is above the England average.
  • Across the L&SC ICB the prevalence of severe mental illness 1.10% (19,881)

For county and unitary data and further information please see below. If the area has defaulted to 'Counties & UAs in North East region', click on the down arrowhead next to 'Geography', select 'Region' and then 'North West'. This is an issue which is not within our control, apologies. 

 Page updated March 2023