Articles, Leading Stories

March 1st, 2015

Study: Transgender youth have more negative outcomes

By Pamela Berard

Transgender youth have a higher rate of negative mental health outcomes than non-transgender youth, according to a new study. Study results showed transgender youth had a higher probability of being diagnosed with depression when compared to non-transgender youth (50.6 percent vs. 20.6 percent); and higher probabilities of suffering from anxiety (26.7 vs. 10), attempting suicide (17.2 vs. 6.1) and engaging in self-harming activities without lethal intent (16.7 vs. 4.4). The study was based on data from the Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center in Boston, and compared the electronic health records of 180 transgender patients (ages 12 to 29) to non-transgender [More]

March 1st, 2015

Musical training promotes emotional growth

By Susan Gonsalves

Musical training can positively affect a child’s emotional and behavioral growth according to a new study. James J. Hudziak, M.D., a professor of psychiatry, medicine and pediatrics at the University of Vermont and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families, built upon data garnered by the National Institutes of Health Magnetic Resonance (MRI) Study of Normal Brain Development. Hudziak and a team of researchers studied the brain scans of 232 children ages six to 18, who he noted did not exhibit emotional problems or anxiety. The study showed that children with musical training experienced increased cortical thickness. [More]

March 1st, 2015

N.H. schools get $9.75 million grant

By Howard Newman

Three New Hamphsire school districts are splitting a $9.75 million federal grant that will improve mental health services in their educational facilities. The five-year grant, which begins this fall, is being provided by the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education). Schools in Berlin, Franklin and School Administrative Unit #7 (Colebrook, Stewartstown and Pittsburg) are participating in the program. This project has two major components, according to Mary Steady, M.Ed., administrator of Safe Schools Healthy Students, an office of the New Hampshire Department of Education. The first component [More]

March 1st, 2015

Kennedy Forum updates mental health

By Phyllis Hanlon

On February 3, the Kennedy Forum presented a live webcast in collaboration with the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) to announce the launch of the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research at MSM’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute. The webcast featured former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy and former Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., who released new public opinion research on the state of mental health across the nation and also reported how the Center plans to advance an agenda for “real, achievable change.” Care for physical and mental health continues to operate in silos in spite of the [More]

March 1st, 2015

Psychologist examines ‘Childhood Emotional Neglect’

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Is there an unseen epidemic in our society? Jonice Webb, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Lexington, Mass., believes there is. In practice for more than 20 years, Webb started to recognize that many of her clients were suffering from a particular set of struggles, a sense of being on the outside, being less happy than they should be or of feeling empty inside. These were struggles that did not stem from any specific trauma or diagnosable psychological condition. Webb found that, for each of these people, it was not so much as an event or troubling [More]

February 1st, 2015

The psychology of romantic relationships

By Phyllis Hanlon

Consider all the songs, poems, magazine articles and novels that focus on romance and it would appear that nearly everyone is looking for love. Sometimes finding Mr. or Ms. Right may be relatively easy, but establishing a romantic relationship typically involves some distinct behavioral patterns and maintaining that relationship requires nurturing. “When trying to form a relationship, you are on your best behavior,” said Margaret S. Clark, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Yale University, adding that three processes are important to relationship initiation: strategic self-presentation, partner evaluation and self-protection. “You must present yourself to a partner in a manner that [More]

February 1st, 2015

Demand high for forensic beds at Riverview in Maine

By Janine Weisman

The Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, Maine, last year became the Riverview Psychiatric Recovery Center, an indication of the state-run mental hospital’s commitment to regaining the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) accreditation it lost in 2013 – and the $20 million in federal funding that went with it. Gone are the correctional officers whose use of stun guns on patients contributed to deficiencies cited by federal inspectors who de-certified the hospital. Inspectors also found problems with patient care and a lack of staff training. The 92-bed facility is slowly recovering from negative news reports about patients attacking mental [More]

February 1st, 2015

MSPP’s new name underscores commitment to diversity

By Howard Newman

As of May 7, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology will be officially known as William James College. This change will not affect the school’s course offerings, its philosophy, size or location. The Newton, Mass., school will continue to offer 11 graduate programs in psychology and embrace the concept of experiential education. So why the change? The new name is a better way of communicating what the school offers, what it stands for and how it’s different from many other graduate intuitions. According to MSPP President Nicholas Covino, Psy.D., the term “school of” linked to a geographic area was hardly [More]

February 1st, 2015

NAMI report tracks investment in mental health

By Susan Gonsalves

The tragic Newtown, Conn. shootings in 2013 turned the spotlight on mental health issues and prompted attempts to rebuild the system with additional funding and initiatives. But that upsurge did not continue in 2014, according to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The report, entitled, “State Mental Health Legislation 2014,” showed that 29 states and the District of Columbia increased funding for services last year but all states are still struggling to recover from budget cuts from 2009-2012. Lead author Sita Diehl, MSSW, NAMI’s state policy and advocacy director, said that the gains made surrounding certain [More]

February 1st, 2015

Prison population in R.I. largely comprised of mentally ill people

By Rivkela Brodsky

Of Rhode Island’s more than 3,000 prison population, approximately 500 are living with a serious mental illness, said Susan Jacobsen, MA, LMHC, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island. That figure is calculated by taking the incidence of mental illness in the general prison population (14-17 percent) and multiplying it by the Rhode Island prison population, Jacobsen said. “It certainly is the case in many communities in Rhode Island that local [jails] are the largest mental health providers de facto,” she said. “They can’t turn anybody away.” She added that the state hospital has fewer than 140 [More]

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