April 1st, 2010

Resiliency at heart of emotional recovery

By Pamela Berard

In the wake of Haiti’s earthquake, psychologists reach out to survivors A natural disaster – like the January earthquake in Haiti – may happen in minutes, but the long-term effects linger long after the story disappears from the headlines. “We focus so much on the event and what it’s like and people sort of think that it’s over,” says Pedro M. Barbosa, Ph.D., associate director of adult patient psychiatry and staff psychologist at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, which has had a Haitian mental health team for more than 20 years. “But (the trauma) comes in waves, and frankly [More]

April 1st, 2010

Massachusetts identifies top legislative priorities

By Phyllis Hanlon

Massachusetts, like many states across the country, is struggling to survive a fiscal crisis, while attempting to maintain services for those with mental illnesses. For FY2010, the Commonwealth’s Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse (MHSA Committee) has been deliberating a number of bills. The Department of Mental Health (DMH) is closely following four of those bills likely to move through the coming legislative session, according to Anna Chinappi, DMH spokesperson. An Act Relative to the Coordination of Children’s Mental Health Care (HB 3586/SB 757), if passed, would reimburse mental health clinicians for collateral contact, which is defined as the [More]

April 1st, 2010

VA could get psychiatric facility

By Elinor Nelson

There’s no dispute that Vermont needs to replace Vermont State Hospital. At 120 years of age, it’s antiquated and has been denied recertification. The governor knows it and the legislature knows it and Vermont Mental Health Commissioner Michael Hartman is hoping that the political forces will approve a plan, now evolving, to care for Vermont’s mentally ill in a combination of community and hospital settings. Since 2004, Vermont has been looking at new ways to deliver mental health care. “There is a responsibility not just to replace 54 beds with 54 more, but to create a variety of new programming,” [More]

April 1st, 2010

Postpartum depression bill pondered

By Phyllis Hanlon

According to University of Minnesota researchers, 10 to 20 percent of new mothers suffer postpartum depression; however, fewer than half the cases are recognized. The Massachusetts legislature is attempting to reduce the incidence of postpartum depression through House Bill 3897, which would require regular screening for all new moms in the Commonwealth. A staunch supporter of the bill, Susan Kushner Resnick, author of “Sleepless Days,” suffered for months before learning she had postpartum depression. The proposed bill would help postnatal women avoid the anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties, feelings of helplessness and other symptoms that sometimes occur following childbirth. “It’s important [More]

April 1st, 2010

Drug deaths top traffic fatalities in four New England states

By Nan Shnitzler

When Centers for Disease Control researchers mined mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System, they found that drugs had outstripped automobile accidents as the leading cause of injury death in 16 states, include four in New England, plus the District of Columbia. First noted in 2003 when eight states, including Massachusetts, had more injury deaths caused by drugs than cars, the trend has continued. In 2006, the states were Conn., Mass., N.H., R.I., Colo., Ill., Md., Mich., N.J., N.Y., Nev., Ohio, Ore., Penn., Utah and Wash. While cocaine was the number one killer from 1999 to 2006, deaths attributed [More]

April 1st, 2010

Education, media could be helpful in domestic violence prevention

By Jennifer E Chase

Maine’s motto calls the state “Vacationland,” but for homicide victims felled by domestic violence, Maine is hell. Although the state boasts the country’s lowest homicide rate, for the last decade, half of Maine’s homicides have been directly related to domestic violence, according to the Maine Coalition for Ending Domestic Violence (MCEDV). The state is looking to the latest report by the Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel to advise how to reduce occurrences of a horror that could be diminished by educating youth, noting warning signs and steering abuse victims to the havens Maine has created to help save lives. [More]

April 1st, 2010

New Hampshire studies cost of reducing the prison population

By Catherine Robertson Souter

New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the country, boasting a property crime rate that is fourth lowest in the nation and a violent crime rate that is third lowest. The crime rates have stayed flat over the past eight years. Yet, even with a stable crime rate, the state’s prison population increased by 31 percent in that same time period. This increase in population, married to the fact that the state is spending double what it spent on corrections eight years ago, has led to a major new study on the causes and solutions to the issue. [More]

April 1st, 2010

R.I. bills prioritize reimbursement, licensing

By Ami Albernaz

Insurance reimbursement and licensing matters are chief among the issues this legislative session that could affect psychologists in Rhode Island. In conjunction with the Coalition of Mental Health Professionals of Rhode Island, an advocacy group, the Rhode Island Psychological Association (RIPA) pushed for the introduction of a bill in January that would serve as an amendment to the state’s parity law and require mental health and substance abuse services to be reimbursed at a rate comparable to medical services. “Some insurance companies pay for behavioral health services on an arbitrary basis compared to medical services,” says Peter Oppenheimer, Ph.D., chairperson [More]

April 1st, 2010

Pilot project brings services to N.H. and Vt. veterans via Web cameras

By Ami Albernaz

Veterans in N.H. and Vt. have not always been able to receive services at VA centers because they are simply too far away. Now, a pilot program is bringing mental health services to a community health center near the Canadian border, allowing veterans there to consult with psychiatrists and psychologists some 128 miles away via Web cameras. The pilot project, funded by an $842,000 federal grant, connects seven staff members of the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt., with the Northern Tier Center for Health’s clinic in Richford, Vt. The project is available to veterans and members of [More]

April 1st, 2010

Ruling that MMR vaccines don’t cause autism cements research

By Jennifer E Chase

A March 12 ruling by special masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims favored the many controlled studies around the world finding no casual relationship between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination (MMR) and the autism found in one out of 110 children in the United States. It’s expected that the ruling will further incite parents of the diagnosed to fight harder, that the shot caused their children’s illness. “The frustration on the part of all families who continue to seek answers is very real and for the families who continue to believe that vaccines caused their children’s autism, this ruling will [More]

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