Something from Catherine for us to think about, wherever we happen to live:
There is some good news, and some bad news……….
First, the bad news:
A group of researchers, mostly from UK research institutes and hospitals, have published a paper on the increasing prevalence and cost of anxiety, and other psychiatric and neurological disorders in the UK. It makes grim reading. In the period studied:
“There were approximately 45 million cases of brain disorders in the UK, with a cost of €134 billion per annum…….. The prevalence and cost of UK brain disorders is likely to increase given the ageing population. Translational neurosciences research has the potential to develop more effective treatments but is underfunded. Addressing the clinical and economic challenges posed by brain disorders requires a coordinated effort at an EU and national level to transform the current scientific, healthcare and educational agenda.”
The paper was written by Professor Naomi A Fineberg et al, and was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology on July 24th 2013. Sage publications have made it available free: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881113495118
Impressive in its methodology and statistical inference, and in the range of literature analysed, the article does not go in detail into the social causes which may underlie or contribute to this increase. Can anything be done about this? Conditions such as dementia and psychoses require a high level of clinical competence to understand and treat. It makes one more anxious just to think about it. But perhaps something can be done, in small, incremental ways, to reduce stress and anxiety each day.
Now, the good news:
The good news is that much can be done. A free ebook, How to design our world for happiness, by the excellent (US based) On the Commons, is a very interesting read on the value of public spaces, and the importance of our individual “town squares”. If you haven’t got time, or are too stressed, to read it, there is a summary in the Project for Public Spaces blog: http://www.pps.org/blog/26-ways-to-make-great-places/
As E F Schumacher said, put up a sail and catch the wind. It is blowing, if only figuratively, around the park right now. (And thank heaven for the NHS…………)