Recession depression has led to increasing numbers of people contacting Government-run mental health helplines, the Ministry of Health's National Depression Initiative said yesterday.

Calls to the depression helpline LifeLine about financial issues had increased consistently, and youth depression service The Lowdown was three times busier than the same period last year.

The Lowdown had received and sent 47,322 text messages and 1154 emails since January this year, the Ministry of Health said.

National Depression Initiative spokeswoman Candace Bagnall said an increase was predicted in the number of people experiencing depression during the recession, with redundancy and unemployment putting people at higher risk of becoming depressed.

LifeLine's Anil Thapliyal said financial security worries were pushing people to contemplate suicide, with older males, used to being the daily breadwinner, most at risk.