Antidepressant use is something that many people go through during their life, whether it is for a mental health condition or other ailment.

While most people will take antidepressants for just a short length of time, others spend years of their life taking them. You can read more about antidepressants at our dedicated section here.

Use of antidepressants range significantly from country to country. Now, analytics company Our World in Data has looked into countries with the highest number of antidepressants prescribed [1].

Antidepressant use is very common


Our World in Data‘s list contains 30 countries. They have calculated antidepressant use per 1,000 people – using public data to create their figures [1].

It is important to note that these figures are accurate as of 2021 – so figures may have changed since then. These figures were also collected during the Covid-19 pandemic, which may also skew the findings.

However, Our World in Data’s list tracks the use of antidepressants since 2010, and the standings have stayed rather similar, suggesting that these figures probably are rather accurate.

Moreover, it is also important to mention that antidepressant use isn’t only for those with mental health conditions. Antidepressants can also be used in some cases for pain disorders.

The “Happier” countries

Some may argue that antidepressant use is associated with a general feeling of sadness among the population.

With this in mind, Latvia, with just 21.5 people out of 1,000 having antidepressant use, is the “happiest” of the 30 countries profiled.

South Korea, Hungary, Lithuania, Costa Rica, Estonia, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, and Turkey complete the top 10.

The 10 countries with the highest antidepressant use

Sitting in 10th is Belgium with 83.80 people out of 1,000 using antidepressants. Just ahead of them in 9th is Denmark with 84.60.

In 8th place is Chile with 90.70 people out of 1,000 using antidepressants. In 7th place is Spain on 92.00.

Jumping to 107.90 in 6th is the United Kingdom, with Sweden ahead in 5th on 108.90.

There is a further jump as we head into 4th place, where Australia sits with 122.20 people out of 1,000 using antidepressants. Canada is in 3rd with 130.40.

Portugal are in second place with a rate of 139.60 people out of 1,000 using antidepressants.

But the ignominy of the highest number of the population using antidepressants is Iceland, where 161.10 people out of 1,000 are using them. Iceland therefore has over 15% of their population on antidepressants, which is a sad sight.

The cold and dark winters are a recipe for Seasonal Affective Disorder – a type of Depression – a struggling economy and an unfavourable climate have all been cited as contributing factors to this.

It is important to note that only a handful of countries were investigated. Therefore, it is important to state that the figures above are not indicative of worldwide figures.


It is always regrettable to see high use of antidepressants. Antidepressants are normally a reactive measure – but being proactive is more important.

Unfortunately, until widescale changes are made in society, these numbers are likely to rise. It is very sad to see.

See Also


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If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available. With the right support and treatment, you can make a recovery. For information on helplines, or if you are in a state of crisis, please visit our crisis page by clicking on the relevant link for your geographical location (United Kingdom), (United States), (International). You can also see how to get mental health treatment and the process involved by clicking this link.


[1] Our World in Data. (2024). Antidepressant drug consumption per 1,000 people, 2021. Available: Last accessed: 19th March 2024.