March 2024 Lost Connections



In this month’s blog I want to try to define how as a society we have evolved, but in doing so we have become more anxious and depressed.  We seem to have lost connection with some of the ingredients of a confident, healthy community.

Many people deal with depression and anxiety in consultation with their GP.  Figures published by NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) showed an increase in the number of people prescribed antidepressants from 7.87 million people in 2020/2021 to 8.32 million people in 2021/2022.

The latest increase means that the number of antidepressant items prescribed over the past six years has increased by 34.8%, from 61.9 million items in 2015/2016 to 83.4 million items in 2021/2022. 

Other antidepressant drugs” (e.g. SNRI’s and Tricyclics) saw the largest increase in usage, from 12.5 million items in 2015/2016 to 20.4 million in 2021/22 — a 63.3% increase.

Illegal Substance use

These figures exclude the numerous people who self-medicate with alcohol and illegal drugs like cannabis and cocaine. The Guardian newspaper commented on statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which revealed death rate figures rose for the ninth year in a row as cocaine-related deaths increase sevenfold since 2011.


Johan Hari – Lost Connections

It is hard to ignore a correlation between the changes in society’s expectations now compared to 50 years ago.  In his book ‘Lost Connections’, Johan Hari argues that research shows:

Two things make depression much more likely: having a severe negative event and having long term sources of stress and insecurity in your life.  But the most startling result happened when these factors were added together. Your chanced of becoming depressed didn’t just combine; they exploded.


Hari goes on to list nine causes of depression and anxiety and some of them I list here: soul destroying work; social isolation and loneliness; materialism which contributes to a loss of meaningful values; adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s); loss of respect and status; disconnection from nature; disconnection from a secure future. Hari agues that all these disconnections cause physical and mental health problems.


I’ve no doubt that the issues Hari raises suggest a political shift.  I would simply suggest that on an induvial level we now attempt to change our values and restore some of these connections.


All book extracts are shown in italics. 

This blog has extracts from: NHS Business Services Authority (BSA;)

The office of national statistics;

And Lost Connections by Johann Hari, Bloomsbury Publishing 2018

©James Grant Counselling Services

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