Video report by ITV News' Matt Price
Around one in five adults experienced some form of depression in the first few months of this year; more than double since before the pandemic.
In a week of special reports, ITV News investigates the waiting times for help - and hears from those who've had to borrow money to pay for care.
New data suggests that it is young women who are most in need, with one in four aged 16-29 report having depressive symptoms.
Consultant Psychiatrist in Haywards Heath, Dr Vince Gradillas, says he has seen a big increase people coming forward for help.
He said: "What we anticipated is that there would be a rise in the rate of depression during the pandemic; simply because depression is more common when there are times of significant distress.
"What is perhaps unexpected is the finding of the two-fold increase in those rates, particularly in over such a short period of time."
NHS data shows over 20 million anti-depressant prescriptions were handed out between October and December last year.
GP Dr Amir Khan says: "The most common ones are SSRI's or serotonin re-uptake inhibitors.
"We've got a chemical in our brains called serotonin and these tablets stop that from being broken down as quickly."
The government says it is investing money as part of a post-pandemic action plan.
For NHS England information on helplines available for mental health click here.
The Samaritans offer a free helpline which is open any time, day or night - 116 123