FEELING depressed is the main reason behind hundreds of trips to A&E a year at Northumbria healthcare, figures suggest.

The mental health charity Mind said it was 'deeply concerning' to see so many young people needing emergency care for this reason.

NHS Digital data shows in the year to March, "feeling depressed" was a patient's chief complaint in 610 attendances at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The chief complaint is what a clinician views, during a patient’s first assessment, as the main reason that drove them to seek emergency care but is not an official diagnosis.

Across England, trusts recorded 114,000 A&E attendances in which a patient was initially recorded as feeling depressed in 2020-21.

It was the 28th most common reason – out of nearly 150 recorded – for heading to an emergency department nationally last year, coming above puncture wounds, back injuries, coughs and sore throats.

Read more: Dozens of complaints about Northumberland County Council lodged with watchdog last year

Leila Reyburn, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said: "It is deeply concerning to see so many people feeling so mentally unwell that they need to go to A&E.

"This is supported by data which shows an increasing number of people, including children, being treated by the NHS in a mental health crisis."

Different figures show "depressive disorder" was listed as the first suspected or confirmed diagnosis in 495 A&E attendances at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2020-21.

NHS trusts in England recorded 83,500 attendances where a diagnosis of depressive disorder was given to patients in A&E over the same period.

A patient with this diagnosis may not necessarily have been recorded as “feeling depressed” in their initial assessment.

To protect patient confidentiality, numbers are rounded to the nearest five.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "It is vital that everyone can get the right support when they need it and we are delivering the fastest expansion in mental health services in NHS history, backed by an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023-24.

"This will benefit hundreds of thousands more people."