A third of women have taken anti-depressants at some point in their lives, according to new research.

The study by women's campaign group Platform 51 found that 48% of women currently using the drugs have taken then for at least five years, while 24% have taken them for 10 years or more.

Meanwhile, 24% of women on anti-depressants have waited a year or more for a review, the research found.

The charity, which commissioned a survey of more than 2,000 adults in England and Wales, said the figures pose "worrying questions" about the appropriateness of prescriptions.

Platform 51's director of policy, campaigns and communications Rebecca Gill, said: "These shocking figures reveal an escalating crisis in women's use of anti-depressants.

"We know from working with women and girls in our centres that anti-depressants have a role to play but they are too readily prescribed as the first and only remedy.

"Three in five women are offered no alternatives to drugs at their reviews and one in four currently on anti-depressants have waited more than a year for review.

"Our research suggests that there is still a huge stigma attached to poor mental health. With some many women not telling their families, it is clear that women fear they will be judged on the state of their mental health.

"The current NICE guidelines are not being followed: women want more checks to make sure the medication use is right for them and they want more choice when it comes to receiving treatment."

Platform 51 is calling on health authorities to launch a review into the guidelines for anti-depressant use and prescription.

The charity's research found 57% of women who have taken anti-depressants were not offered any alternatives to drugs when they were prescribed.

It also found 18% kept their prescription a secret from their family and 10% did not tell their partner.