THE number of people suffering from depression in Hull has increased by almost 50 per cent in the last three years, according to new research.
Data expert SSentif completed national, regional and local analysis of depression, dementia and mental illness prevalence rates across England.
NHS Hull, the city's primary care trust (PCT), reported a 48.77 per cent increase in the number of registered patients suffering from depression.
A total 13,523 people, who were registered with a GP in Hull, had depression in 2010-11, which are the latest figures available. This is compared with 9,090 in 2008-09.
Pete Haslam, 55, has faced a lifelong battle with mental health problems and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, known in the past as manic depression, in his 30s.
He said: "It is interesting we are seeing a jump of this magnitude in Hull. But it's very good people are talking about it.
"There is still a stigma and we still have a long way to go to battle the stigma."
Health officials in Hull said the increase in the number of patients suffering from depression who are now on a GP register is down to better recognition of mental health problems by GPs and practice staff.
A mental health first aid training programme has also been put in place, alongside the creation of a "single point of access" to make it easier for patients to seek help, and more money has been invested in services.
Pete, of west Hull, said depression is debilitating.
He said: "Unless you have been through it, you don't know. Each day is a battle.
"Some of the feelings I have had, and continue to have, are of overwhelming despair, paranoia and voices in your head telling you you're not a worthy person.
"It's very good if people can get the help they need."
Keith Baulcombe, assistant director of mental health and learning disability at NHS Hull, said there are many reasons behind depression, which could be linked to the current economic climate, job losses or financial difficulties.
He said: "While it is sad there are this many people experiencing mental health difficulties in Hull, I'm really pleased 4,500 more people are being recognised and coming forward for support than they were three years ago.
"I have always found Hull to be a fairly resilient city in its ability to cope.
"What I'm pleased about is, whatever the reasons, people are seeking help and I'm glad we have services in place which seem to be responding in a way we are meeting people's needs."