Articles, Leading Stories

August 21st, 2013

Study highlights prevalence of children with mental disorders

By Janine Weisman

Up to one in five U.S. children experience a mental disorder, finds a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report reviewing various federal efforts tracking childhood mental health. “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children – United States, 2005-2011,” the first comprehensive report on children’s mental health released last May, estimates $247 billion annually is spent on the 13 to 20 percent of American children living with mental disorders. ADHD (6.8 percent) was the most prevalent parent-reported diagnosis among children aged 3-17 followed by behavioral or conduct problems such as ODD or conduct disorder (3.5 percent), anxiety (3 percent), depression [More]

August 21st, 2013

New commissioner puts focus on system transformation

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Since 2011, after Tropical Storm Irene closed the Vermont State Hospital, the state’s mental health care system has undergone a massive re-structuring. The administration of Gov. Peter Shumlin, with input from mental health care professionals, advocates and consumers, took the natural disaster as an opportunity to re-make the entire system following a de-centralized, community-based model. For Paul Dupre, recently named as commissioner for the Department of Mental Health, the changes are also providing opportunities he may not otherwise have had. Dupre, formerly the executive director of the Washington County Mental Health Services (WCMHS), had been a member of the transformational [More]

August 21st, 2013

Postpartum depression studied in ‘invisible sexual minority’ women

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The average rate of postpartum depression in women in this country is around 13 percent. But, while studies have shown how postpartum depression or PPD, affects women from a variety of socio-economic, racial and cultural backgrounds, there have been remarkably few looking at PPD rates among gay and bisexual women. A recent grant from the National Institute of Mental Health will help rectify that and take it a step further by looking at a group the researchers refer to as ‘invisible sexual minority women,’ those who do not identify as gay or bisexual but have a history of relationships with [More]

August 21st, 2013

Genetics & counseling: a sensible approach

By Phyllis Hanlon

Angelina Jolie’s surprise announcement of her prophylactic mastectomy and hysterectomy has shined a spotlight on genetic testing. Like this celebrity, more people with family histories of serious medical conditions are seeking information about their chances of developing a life-threatening illness. As technology and research develop new detection methods, valuable knowledge is becoming available to the general public. But this knowledge can spark emotional chaos. Andrea Farkas Patenaude, Ph.D., director of psychology research and clinical services with the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and associate professor of psychology in the department of psychiatry at Harvard [More]

August 21st, 2013

Butler to open new Patient Care Center

By Janine Weisman

Rhode Island’s largest psychiatric hospital will add 26 new adult inpatient beds to its capacity with the scheduled October 1 opening of a new 49,000 square-foot Patient Care Center. The new beds will increase Butler Hospital’s current licensed 117-bed capacity to 143. But for the last several years, Butler has had to receive a waiver from the state health department to go above its current licensed capacity. “We have been very full. It is very hard to get a bed here,” says Lisa B. Shea, M.D., deputy medical director, quality & regulation. In 2009, Butler saw a nearly 10 percent [More]

July 1st, 2013

“Enduring” trauma: long-term effects unknown

By Phyllis Hanlon

Imagine being held captive for just one hour. Now compound that intense fear and terror by 10 years, as in the case of the three recently rescued women in Cleveland. The general public becomes overwhelmed with radio, television, online and newspaper coverage of such events and may come to believe they are common. In truth, these are rare instances and understanding the long-term effects of captivity, brutality and isolation may derive from other traumatic situations, such as being a prisoner of war, living in a cult or a household wracked with domestic violence. When abducted, these women in Cleveland were [More]

July 1st, 2013

Legislation seeks to curb treatment interruption

By Pamela Berard

Proposed Massachusetts legislation would allow behavioral health patients to continue receiving the same care when insurance companies do not renew provider contracts. Current state law prohibits health plans from terminating contracts without due cause, but the proposed Bill H. 1783, filed by Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton), would require insurance carriers to give at least 180 days notice to behavioral health providers if a contract is not going to be renewed and to show cause for not renewing provider contracts and demonstrate that any lawful communication concerning regulations and statutes that affect service delivery is not a factor in said non-renewal. [More]

July 1st, 2013

Report helps consumers compare insurers

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In 2012, the Vermont legislature passed a law requiring insurance companies who do business in the state to complete an annual report to help consumers compare insurers. The reports include statistics on how many claims are filed, how many are denied, appealed and eventually paid. Insurance companies must also report their marketing and advertising expenses, lobbying and legal expenses and political contributions. Salaries and bonuses paid to top management and board members are included as well. The information being reported is nothing that the insurance companies don’t already report, in various forms, to the state’s Department of Financial Regulation (DFR). [More]

July 1st, 2013

DSM-5 stirs some controversy

By Phyllis Hanlon

After more than 10 years of discussions, committee meetings and revisions, the American Psychiatric Association finalized the DSM-5 and released it at the annual meeting in May. Although the project involved a cross-section of experts in psychiatry, psychology and science, the manual has been met with both open arms and skepticism from a variety of mental health professionals as well as some individuals in the general public. Two weeks before release of the DSM-5, broadcast and print media headlines proclaimed widespread criticism of the manual and announced that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which funds a significant amount [More]

July 1st, 2013

Program targets children’s needs

By Susan Gonsalves

A program to address emotional and behavioral issues in children has met with success in three Church Street School classrooms. The interventionist initiative in Hamden, Conn. places behavioral health specialists in classrooms to help students who exhibit mental health problems to focus and allow teachers to instruct without distractions. The program is part of the Educational Care Collaborative, whose goal is to provide continuity of care on emotional issues for children and families at home, in school and within the community. Funded by the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven and other smaller grants, ECC was founded by Joy Fopiano, [More]

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