NEW data has revealed the rate of resident in Mid and North Essex diagnosed with depression ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Analysis of NHS estimates by the House of Commons Library shows the average rate of adult GP patients across England being diagnosed with depression in 2019-20 was 11.5 per cent.

In Essex, the rates were 12.1 per cent in Colchester, 11.2 per cent in Tendring, 11 per cent in Braintree, nine per cent in Chelmsford, and 8.6 per cent in Maldon.

Out of Colchester's 20 areas, it was higher in Monkwick where 15.9 per cent were depressed and lower in areas such as Wivenhoe and University where 8.2 per cent of patients were depressed.

In Tendring’s 18 areas, Elmstead Market and Ardleigh was highest with 14.4 per cent and Walton and Frinton Coastal were lowest with 7.5 per cent.

In Braintree’s 18 areas, West Witham was highest with 14.8 per cent and Panfield, Finchingfield and Bardfield were lowest 7.8 per cent.

In Chelmsford’s 21 areas, Rettendon and Runwell was highest with 11.6 per cent and South Woodham Ferrers North was lowest with 6.9 per cent.

In Maldon’s eight areas, Great Totham, Wickham Bishops and Woodham was highest with 9.7 per cent and Southminster, Bradwell and Dengie Peninsula was lowest with 7.6 per cent.

The charity Mind’s awareness week, which runs from May 10-16 this year, aims to highlight the importance of good mental health and the support available to the public.

Mind spokesperson Julie Arthur said: “Mental Health Awareness Week is our opportunity to promote good mental wellbeing and given that we have all suffered a year unlike any other due to the pandemic, it is even more important for us to focus on our own mental wellbeing as well as that of those around us.

“Raising awareness and starting conversations about mental health will almost certainly help someone to reach out for help.”

The theme this year is ‘nature’ and the Mid and North East Essex team will be out and about at the following locations between 10am-3pm:

• Monday, May 10 – Promenade Park in Maldon, supported by Moat Foundation

• Tuesday, May 11 – Chelmsford High Street with a special visit from mayor Jude Deakin

• Wednesday, May 12– Lion Walk Shopping Centre in Colchester, supported by Lisa Kirwan, the fitness coach behind ‘thisfitmum’

• Thursday, May 13 – Braintree Village

The Government said it is providing an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023-24 for mental health services.

A spokesperson said: “Hundreds of billions have been spent to help those most in need throughout the pandemic, safeguarding jobs, boosting welfare support, raising the living wage and introducing the £269 million Covid Local Support Grant to help children and families stay well-fed.”