18 Thursday, 30 July 2009 London Lite Depression pills boom in the slump3.2mprescriptionsinayear THE recession is being blamed for a steep rise in the number of Londoners taking antidepressants. Doctors in the capital handed out nearly 3.27 million prescriptions last year -- a rise of 188,252 in 12 months. Figures also show that the NHS drugs bill for treating mental health problems such as depression and anxiety is 24.3m since the beginning of last year. This is despite a reduction in the cost of antidepressants. One mental health charity said it was not surprised about the rise, given the stresses caused by the recession. But it emphasised that pills were not the only answer. Victoria Walsh, cam- paigns manager of Rethink, said: This shows there is a need for additional psychological therapies as anti- depressants alone are not the most effective way to deal with depression. The figures from the NHS Information Centre cover the 31 London primary care trusts, and refer to a wide range of antidepressants including Prozac and Seroxat. They show that the 3.27 million prescriptions given in the 12 months to April this year were up from 3.08 million the previous year. Sutton and Merton PCT spent the most on such drugs in the last financial year -- 1.5m on 172,043 prescriptions, while the lowest spend was in Kensington and Chelsea with 61,835 prescriptions at a cost of 558,089. London clinics have reported a doubling in the number of people seeking help for reces- sion-related mental illness. Ministers have moved to provide psychological help to those hit by redundancy and debt. Psychotherapy centres are set to be established in every NHS primary care trust by the end of next year. by georgina littlejohn Pass the Prozac: more pills are being prescribed Arkafloatagainwithits firsttenantsince2000 ONE of Londons most notorious white elephants has finally secured a tenant after lying deserted for almost a decade. Hammersmiths Ark office building will be home to employees of US digital TV company Open TV. However, the stations staff, who arrive in September, are taking only the top floor of the nine-storey building, which was designed by Swedish architect Ralph Erskin and completed in 1992. The copper-clad post- modernist building is thought to be unpopular because it is too close to the Hammersmith flyover and has a dark, windswept access. Meanwhile, estate agent Knight Frank said prices of London homes worth more than 1m rose 1.5 per cent last month, the fourth consecutive rise. Tough sail: the Ark building in Hammersmith City briefing: See Page 34 index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html