New studies indicate a sharp increase in the number of young people committing self-harm, with a number of reports pointing to the internet as a key factor for this increase. According to the Independent, the number of children aged between 10 and 14 requiring hospital treatment in England after deliberately hurting themselves has risen 70 per cent in the past two years. The Telegraph cites a similar statistic regarding 15 to 19 year olds, among whom hospitalisation has seen a 25% increase over the same period.
Reports this week have looked at the rights of mentally ill patients and how they do not match those of the physically ill, with two thirds of Britons with depression receiving no treatment, and no minimum wait times or universal standard of care. As a result, calls are being made for greater understanding of depression as an illness, and commentators suggesting that there needs to be greater parity in mental and physical healthcare.
The Telegraph covered recent research undertaken by the University of Cambridge, which concludes inflammation can contribute to depression and therefore that aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs could help in treatment.
Medical science is endeavouring to discover the link between stress and heart disease, as reported by The Times. Most heart conditions are caused by accrued cardiovascular damage since our teens, which is triggered by high stress levels throughout our thirties and forties. Stress has been shown to cause an increase in white blood cells which can form plaques that when broken down put major strain on the heart.
Technology in healthcare
This week, reports have shown that technology can potentially assist in delivering more cost effective treatment of mental health problems. Researchers at Oxford and elsewhere have shown that SMS and voice-calls can be used to assess mental health status.