THE House of Commons library is an incredibly useful research resource for MPs. As well as holding vast amounts of third party research, it also publishes its own original reports.

It recently looked at the problem of depression and found that Wyre Forest had one of the highest levels of depression in the country.

The data was compiled by contacting GP surgeries and asking what proportion of their users were either currently receiving treatment for, or had in the past received treatment for, depression.

Across the whole of Worcester, and the neighbouring constituencies to the north, the general trend was that around 10 per cent or 11 per cent of GPs' lists met the criteria.

But in Wyre Forest is was a staggering 16 per cent, with some parts of Kidderminster registering as high as 18 per cent.

Since this report was published in May, we have been trying to figure out what explains the high result here locally.

Could it be the delivery of mental health services? I am the first to accept that we should and must be doing more to deliver mental health services.

But given that these services are delivered on a county wide basis, this would not explain the local spike.

Is it unemployment? We know that unemployment is a key factor in depression, yet we have lower unemployment here in Wyre Forest than Redditch or Worcester.

With unemployment around 2 per cent locally, this is unlikely to be the key factor.

It has been suggested it might be Universal Credit. But aside from problems with roll out, Universal Credit itself is seen as an improvement on the old system.

Both my office and the CAB are not seeing any increase in complaints about Universal Credit, and in any event, the data was collected before it was rolled out in Wyre Forest.

Wages locally, as I have said on many occasions, are below average and may well be a contributing factor. Struggling to meet bills is well-known to cause depression.

The spikes in the data locally correlate to those areas of lower wages, so this may be a cause.

But again, our wages are similar to that of Redditch, so with a depression rate around 4 percentage points lower, this may not be the cause.

It’s a conundrum. It may be that GPs locally are more in tune with depression so diagnose it more frequently. But we are still working hard to try to figure out what is the reason.

But in the meantime, I continue to see as a vital locally priority the challenge of improving skills and driving up wages through delivering higher productive jobs.