Shock figures have revealed that a young person is admitted to hospital in England suffering from serious anxiety every 39 minutes. Most are teenagers, many of them girls, but a tiny tot, aged three, was also treated.
The figures are rising steeply. In 2015-16 some 13,400 under-18s were hospitalised. This was dramatically up on the figure for the previous year, 9,086.
Lynn Renwick, a service manager for young people, said the cause was often school stress and academic worries, especially among those taking GCSE exams.
“There is anxiety due to isolation and lack of friendship,” she said. “There is a lot of pressure in social media. Young people become isolated and then turn to social media and that can lead to bullying. They are surrounded by it twenty-four seven, there is no escape from it.”
School problems apart, bereavement, separation, teenage love affairs and parental mental health issues are often causes of children’s despair. Ms Renwick did not mention it, but concern has also been expressed about the children of parents who are alcoholics or drug addicts.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children reported a significant increase in calls to its helpline about such children. Chief executive Peter Wanless said: “Drug and alcohol abuse can have a hugely damaging effect around children and its troubling to see a rise in reports of this problem.”
Dr Marc Bush, chief policy adviser at the YoungMinds charity, said, “The sharp rise in the number of children being treated in hospital for anxiety is deeply alarming. As a society, we need to do far more to prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place.” Schools, he said, should prioritise wellbeing, not just exam results.
Last week this column reported that feeling revolted by noisy eating and heavy breathing is not just a sign of one’s refined nature, but actually a brain abnormality called misophonia.
Well, if that is abnormal, not to worry. There are many phenomena much stranger than that.
Visitors to Jerusalem often experience religious delusions, such as the belief that they are characters in the Bible. They normally recover after leaving the city.
The capital of France, too, can affect tourists, particularly Japanese. A reported dozen or so are repatriated every year in a state of depression known as the Paris Syndrome.
This seems to be caused by realising that Paris is not as romantic as the visitor thought and discovering that Parisians can be rude. Well documented is the Foreign Accent Syndrome, when individuals suddenly find they are talking like foreigners. Usually this is the result of a stroke.
I would not say we are a particularly quarrelsome nation, but there are enough disputes going on for Channel 5 television to run a weekly series titled The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door.
The episodes usually tell of how ill feelings start over a minor dispute then escalate out of proportion. One man had to have his finger amputated after a neighbour bit him and there are examples of footpaths being blocked, fences knocked down, manure being dumped, plants torn up.
Worse, at Exeter Crown Court last week a man admitted killing his neighbour by stuffing a potato into the gas flue of his house.
Daniel Burgess, 38, pleaded guilty to manslaughter after blocking the inflow and outflow pipes of Michael Hornder’s house next door. He also glued a door lock.
Hornder, aged 48, died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The court heard that Burgess was taking revenge because he believed his neighbour had stolen his pre-paid gas cards, so he could not heat his home. However, a fault in Hornder’s boiler meant a failsafe system did not work and the house filled with gas. Burgess was jailed for two years and eight months.
An elderly gentleman was on the operating table awaiting the attentions of the surgeon, who happened to be his son. As he was about to get the anaesthetic, he said, “Son, don’t be nervous, just do your best. And remember, if this operation goes wrong, your mother is going to come and live with you and your wife for a very long time.”
Mall Maintenance Shop: We can repair anything. (Please knock hard on the door, the bell doesn’t work).
Customers should use push button to open automatic doors.
Teach our children Reading, Writing and Arithetic.
Touching wires causes instant death: £200 fine.
Two-hour parking: 7 pm to 8 pm
25 mph pee limit
Mexican food so authentic Donald Trump would build a wall round it.
Please do not throw your cigarette ends into the urinal (Below which someone scribbled: “It makes them soggy and hard to light.”)