April 1st, 2016

Dogs help vets with PTSD to cope

By Susan Gonsalves

A trained dog can help ward off panic attacks, act as a physical barrier in public places and aid veterans with mobility issues by retrieving items for them. With a lick or a tug and the ability to perform helpful tasks, the dogs can be comforting friends and lifelines as veterans with physical injuries, posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries transition back to civilian life. Project HEAL™ is one program offered by the non-profit organization called Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) founded in 1995 by Lu and Dale Picard. With training facilities in New York and Connecticut, the [More]

April 1st, 2016

Families of narcissists suffer most, psychologist says

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In the mythological story, Narcissus found his fate looking back at him in the mirrored face of a pool of water. Pining away by his own reflection, this victim of the first “documented” case of what came to be known as narcissism, paid the ultimate price for his unhealthy self-regard. In reality, it is not the narcissist who generally pays for his unbalanced view of the world. While narcissists may lose out on true relationships and the beauty of a two-way street, they don’t often realize their loss, being so wrapped in their own pathology, according to Richard A. Grossman, [More]

April 1st, 2016

“Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad – and Surprising Good – About Feeling Special”

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

  “Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad – and Surprising Good – About Feeling Special” By Craig Malkin Harper Collins Publishers New York, N.Y., 2015   Book explores many dimensions of narcissism Reviewed by James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5th Edition” defines narcissistic personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and sense of entitlement. People with this disorder are interpersonally exploitive and consider themselves unique relative to the general population. They also lack empathy for the feelings of others, behaving condescendingly and with a patronizing attitude. In “Rethinking Narcissism,” psychologist [More]

April 1st, 2016

Stuck

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

He said he didn’t care what happened to him so he didn’t seem to be bothered that he was still in the custody of the court and confined to the hospital. His indifference was part of his depression and his depression had invaded the very core of his identity. If he had his way, he would end his life and pass on to the next world or to no world at all. Anything was better than living with the loss of the dream that he was so close to achieving before it all crashed. The man was stuck. Despite the [More]

March 1st, 2016

Neurofeedback: a viable treatment for mental health issues?

By Phyllis Hanlon

The brain could be considered the communication center of the body, sending messages to every cell and keeping all systems running properly. But psychological or physical trauma can disrupt those signals. Researchers are finding that neurofeedback can repair broken connections and help restore functioning. A traumatic brain injury involves the tearing of white matter connections in the brain that cause the whole system to be “out of whack,” according to Diane Roberts-Stoler, Ed.D., owner of Dr. Diane Brain Health in North Andover, Massachusetts. She speaks from first-hand experience. In 1990, she suffered a stroke while driving, resulting in a head-on [More]

March 1st, 2016

R.I. leaders collaborate to fix behavioral health system

By Janine Weisman

Nearly 10 percent of Rhode Island’s $8.7 billion state budget goes toward services addressing behavioral health conditions, from incarceration costs to child welfare services and social services. Yet more Rhode Islanders report unmet need for behavioral health care services than residents of other New England states, according to the “Rhode Island Behavioral Health Project: Final Report” commissioned by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and released last fall. Truven Health Analytics conducted this assessment of the supply, demand and costs associated with the full continuum of behavioral health services and developed recommendations for reforms. What’s primarily driving total spending, [More]

March 1st, 2016

Connecticut braces for budget cuts

By Pamela Berard

With a projected $500 million shortfall in the 2016-2017 Connecticut state budget and the General Assembly 2016 session underway, mental health advocates are rallying to preserve programs and services. NAMI Connecticut has outlined five 2016 legislative priorities, among them, to preserve and improve existing community supports. Daniela Giordano, MSW, NAMI Connecticut public policy director, said this goal is important particularly in light of the state’s current economic climate. “We know for a fact there will be cuts, it’s just where exactly, and how much and what exactly it will mean for people in the community,” Giordano said. “One of the [More]

March 1st, 2016

Psychiatric patients still flood ERs

By Rivkela Brodsky

Four years after Tropical Storm Irene caused structural damage to the state’s psychiatric hospital, Vermont’s system of psychiatric care offers more beds for patients in crisis, yet hospitals around the state find themselves trying to care for individuals left waiting in emergency departments for a psychiatric bed. Gifford Medical Center in Randolph has five emergency room beds and is not one of the state’s designated mental health facilities. “As you can imagine, it does not take much for it to become very crowded,” said Barbara Quealy, chief operating officer. “Our biggest challenge here remains the ability to quickly move patients [More]

March 1st, 2016

Task force recommends depression screening for adults

By Susan Gonsalves

Adults, including pregnant and postpartum women, should be annually screened for depression, according to a recommendation by the U.S Preventive Services Task Force. The organization cited the prevalence of major depressive disorder among adults in high income countries, its impact on quality of life for patients and their families and the higher risk of death by suicide or an inability to control other health issues. The USPSTF commissioned a systematic review to update a 2009 recommendation that focused on the direct evidence about the benefits and harms of depression screening. The organization also reviewed the accuracy of depression screening instruments. [More]

March 1st, 2016

Some Riverview patients could be placed in prison unit

By Pamela Berard

Certain Riverview Psychiatric Recovery Center patients determined not criminally responsible and incompetent to stand trial could be placed in the Intensive Mental Health Unit (IMHU) at the Maine State Prison. Under legislation introduced in February, that situation would occur when deemed necessary to maintain the safety of patients and staff and to meet the treatment needs of those forensic patients. The bill (LD 1577), submitted by Gov. Paul LePage, (R), has raised concerns among mental health advocates. “This is the best example I could dream up of criminalizing mental illness,” said Jenna Mehnert, MSW, NAMI Maine’s executive director. Mehnert said [More]

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