Hello and welcome to another edition of Best 5 Reads. Lets begin!
While many deaths due to opioid overdoses are accidental, there a growing body of evidence that some cases were intentional and that the presence of pain played a role in the decision to end life.
In 1968, the word hysteria, present for more than two millennia and used to describe atypical signs and symptoms that did not conform to established diseases, disappeared from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of mental disorders.1 Critics had argued that the condition lacked validity and that it owed its longevity to tradition. Moreover, the term was pejorative with its fallacious association to uterine pathology. Abolishing the word did not, however, remove a disorder, nor did it lead to fresh insights as to the condition’s cause, given the largely descriptive content of the DSM. It also did not adequately solve the taxonomy conundrum.
A new report from NHS Digital has highlighted an escalating mental health crisis in young people. The report comes just days after the Children’s Commissioner for England warned there was a “vast gap” in NHS mental health support.
The arts and humanities are afterthoughts in many American schools, rarely given priority as part of a comprehensive education, though they formed the basis of one for thousands of years elsewhere. One might say something similar of preventative medicine in the U.S. healthcare system. It’s tempting to idealize the priorities of other wealthy countries. The Japanese investment in “forest bathing,” for example, comes to mind, or Finnish public schools and France’s funding of an Alzheimer’s village.
But everyplace has its problems, and no country is an island, exempt from the global pressures of capital or hostile interference.
But if we consider such things as art, music, and dance as essential—not only to an education, but to our general well-being—we must commend the UK’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, for his “social prescribing” initiative.
I walked through a supermarket recently and saw candles saying “Wine not?”, greeting cards with “On your marks, get set, prosecco!”, and t-shirts emblazoned with “You’ve got to be gin it to win it.” When I reached the pharmacy, I saw a sign saying that alcohol is the leading cause of ill health, disability, and death among people aged between 15–49 years in the UK.
Thank you and see you tomorrow for more articles.