There is concern that cardiac patients in the North East are failing to address the issue of mental health which can follow major cardiac events.
It is estimated that one in five individuals have a major depressive episode within a few weeks of suffering a heart attack, with a further quarter experiencing milder depression.
To combat this, the British Heart Foundation set up its Heart HelpLine for patients and their families to seek support and information about mental health issues.
However, the charity is concerned about the low number of calls to the service in the North East, despite there being more than 127,000 people living with coronary heart disease in the region.
Cardiac nurse Ellen Mason said: ‘There are hidden costs to heart disease that most people wouldn’t think of - the impact that it can have on their jobs, income, family life, and mental wellbeing.
‘No-one should have to deal with all those things without the offer of support, but people often don’t know that their experiences and feelings are normal, or feel they can talk about it.
‘Anyone concerned about heart disease can call our Heart HelpLine for information and support.’