July 1st, 2014

Maine leads region in continuing care planning; Mass. at bottom

By Janine Weisman

New federal quality measures data show 41 percent of psychiatric patients hospitalized in Massachusetts were discharged without a plan summarizing their diagnosis, treatment, medications and recommended follow-up care. When patients did have such a plan, hospitals often failed to communicate the information to their outpatient providers. That puts Massachusetts second to last in the country after Nebraska (at 35 percent) for follow-up care planning and in last place at 31 percent for transmitting treatment information to the next level of care provider, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare Web site shows. Nationally, 74 percent of patients [More]

July 1st, 2014

Vermont bill would change involuntary treatment laws

By Rivkela Brodsky

A bill sitting on Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s desk will change the state’s involuntary treatment and medication laws for psychiatric care. The state currently requires two separate court hearings on involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital and later, on involuntary medication, a process that state officials and hospital administrators say was taking too long. A new bill that saw bipartisan support among lawmakers in the latest legislative session would allow the hearings to take place at the same time and sets something of a timeline to treatment in a hospital. Other changes include that an “interested party” can request an [More]

July 1st, 2014

R.I. tries to address overdose deaths

By Pamela Berard

In response to a rise in drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island and nationwide, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee in April outlined a series of ongoing actions and strategies. As of April, at least 85 overdose deaths occurred in R.I. in 2014. The state and the Anchor Recovery Community Center earlier this year co-hosted several public forums on overdose, addiction and recovery. Also, state officials signed an emergency regulation that puts Naxolone in use more easily and broadly, such as to first responders, providers and family members. Naxolone (also known as Narcan) can reverse the effects of an opioid [More]

July 1st, 2014

Organizational psychology cited as ‘fast growing’ job

By Pamela Berard

Tina D. Forrister, MA, was enrolled in a clinical psychology master’s degree program when she decided on a different path. “I realized two years in that it wasn’t the right fit for me,” says Forrister, who had an undergraduate degree in psychology and was working in the pharmaceutical industry while pursuing her master’s. Forrister continued working in pharmaceuticals, in learning and development and change management. In 2011, she found a way to combine that work with psychology – enrolling in the Organizational Psychology master’s degree program at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP). Forrister may be a trendsetter. The National [More]

July 1st, 2014

Initiatives receive $8 million in grants

By Pamela Berard

Twenty-two Massachusetts mental health initiatives received a total of $8 million in grants through funds recovered by the Attorney General’s Office through a settlement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The “Increasing Access to and Measuring the Benefits of Providing Behavioral Health Services in Massachusetts” grant program supports projects that improve the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services in order to improve public health, welfare and safety. Among grantees, the Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention’s Connecting with Care (CWC) program received $250,000 over two years. CWC coordinates with community mental health providers to place full-time, Master’s-level mental health professionals in Boston public [More]

July 1st, 2014

Collaborative seeks to overhaul system

By Howard Newman

The overarching goal of the New Hampshire Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative is to completely overhaul the way services are delivered to children. “We’re all in it for the long haul, on the order of 5-10 years,” explains Effie Malley, director. More than 60 New Hampshire organizations are partners in the Collaborative, which was launched in 2010 and is described by Malley as a “coalition,” rather than a non-profit corporation. The Collaborative is an advocacy group working to transform the children’s behavioral health system and does not provide direct services. Partners and contributors include entities from the public, private and state [More]

July 1st, 2014

Study: Young children benefit from CBT

By Susan Gonsalves

Children ages five to eight with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can benefit from family-based cognitive behavioral therapy, according to a study from the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center. Jennifer Freeman, Ph.D., staff psychologist at the center and clinical co-director of Bradley’s Intensive Program for OCD, led the five-year project which was conducted at three academic medical centers (Bradley, Duke, University of Pennsylvania) over 14 weeks in 2006-2011. Freeman explains that 127 children in that age range with a primary diagnosis of OCD and their parents were randomized to 12 sessions of either family-based cognitive behavior treatment or family-based relaxation treatment. [More]

July 1st, 2014

Yale psychologists launch Mood Meter App

By Janine Weisman

The room you’re working in is too warm. You can’t focus on your project because of repeated interruptions. And you have no idea what you’re going to do for dinner. Restless? Annoyed? Stressed? Can’t quite put your finger on how your feeling? Yes, you can. Because the feeling is probably somewhere in the red-orange zone that occupies the upper left quadrant of the new Mood Meter App.The app launched in May is based on research conducted at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and conceived by the center’s director, Marc Brackett, Ph.D., and its associate director, Robin Stern, Ph.D. They [More]

July 1st, 2014

Task forces address hoarding

By Rivkela Brodsky

Task forces to address hoarding in communities are piling up around the nation. So says hoarding expert Randy Frost, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Smith College in Mass., who estimates about 100 across the U.S. “They are springing up all over the place,” says Frost, co-author of “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.” “They are populated primarily by service professionals who run into the problem of hoarding.” That can include first responders, health department personnel, housing officials, child and family services, mental health and animal welfare agencies, he says. While Massachusetts has several hoarding task forces, other states [More]

July 1st, 2014

Psychologist helps with design of 9/11 Memorial

By Catherine Robertson Souter

On May 22, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum beneath the former site of the World Trade Center opened to the public. The task of designing a memorial to the 2,977 lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, has been monumental. The designers needed to work with the families to honor those who perished especially because for many, this memorial is also their final resting place. They had to appreciate that some visitors may feel the events as though they were only yesterday and still design something that will be relevant in 30 or 50 years. Recognizing the impact that [More]

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