Leading Stories, Articles

July 7th, 2018

School psychologists: In a class of their own

By Phyllis Hanlon

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), school psychology has “…evolved as a specialty area with core knowledge rooted in psychology and education.” Once focused primarily on assessments, today’s school psychologists undergo advanced training, leading to deeper knowledge and understanding of developmental stages, culture, environment, and social emotional issues as they currently apply to school systems. Graduate students who choose to become school psychologists have two certification options, according to Sandra M. Chafouleas, Ph.D. Chafouleas is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the department of educational psychology, Neag School of Education. She is also co-director of the Collaboratory on [More]

July 7th, 2018

ME Gov. LePage continues push for step-down unit in Bangor

By Janine Weisman

Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s effort to build a privately run 21-bed stepdown unit for Augusta’s Riverview Psychiatric Center on state land in Bangor has quietly resumed with a developer’s permit application filed with the Bangor Planning Board. Bangor Holdings LLC in Hermon submitted an application and site development plan on May 30 to build a one-story, 9,536 square foot secure forensic rehabilitation facility on State Hospital Drive on the grounds of the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center. Although the application sought a site review, Bangor Planning Officer David Gould said the proposed 2.32-acre site would need a conditional use permit [More]

July 6th, 2018

CARE Act would allow involuntary commitment for addicts

By Catherine Robertson Souter

As part of an effort to combat the drug overdose epidemic, a new law, known as the CARE Act, currently in the Massachusetts legislature would allow certain medical professionals to hospitalize people addicted to drugs for up to 72 hours while waiting for a court order. The law would give physicians, psychiatric nurses, qualified licensed psychologists or clinical social workers the right to judge if a patient’s addiction poses an immediate danger to themselves or to others. The law would allow this involuntary commitment on the basis of the facts and circumstances even if the patient refuses to be examined. [More]

July 5th, 2018

William James College acquires Teachers21: Aims to make schools a better place for students

By Phyllis Hanlon

Four years ago Teachers21, Inc., a 30-year old organization that offers customized professional development for academic leaders, began renting space on the campus of William James College where it also drew upon the school’s experienced faculty to spearhead various programs. Last year, an opportunity arose and the two entities joined forces. Nicholas A. Covino, Psy.D., president of William James College, explained that Teachers21 has been offering “sophisticated consulting work with schools” and has developed a robust relationship with school superintendents and principals across the Commonwealth. With the growing interest in social emotional learning in the last couple of years, the [More]

July 5th, 2018

School Based Health Care may be the only care some kids receive

By Eileen Weber

The turn of the 20th century saw the advent of school nurses. Since then, school-based health care has grown. Mental health and substance abuse counseling, case management, nutrition, immunizations, health education, even regular dental check-ups with fluoride treatments are available during school hours. “It’s not just medical. It’s from dental to mental.” said Ellen Carroll, Ph.D, RN, CPNP, program director for the Dr. Appleby School Based Health Centers and the Human Services Council in Norwalk. Connecticut has had School Based Healthcare Centers (SBHCs) for the past 25 years. For low-income black and Hispanic families without insurance, this may be their [More]

June 14th, 2018

Connecticut’s troubled adolescents lack coverage

By Eileen Weber

One in every five children between 13 and 18-years-old have or will have a serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Based on its statistics in 2015, only a little over half of children aged eight to 15 received mental health services. Laura Whitmore, associate minister at Southport Congregational in Southport, Conn., has first-hand experience with this situation. With approximately 100 kids and teens in the church’s middle and high school youth groups, she has seen an uptick in issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. But, there have been more alarming problems as well. “I [More]

June 13th, 2018

Vaping: More than just blowing smoke

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a National Youth Tobacco Survey and found that 2.39 million teens are “vaping” (i.e., using an electronic smoking device). As this trend continues to grow, parents, schools and health professionals struggle with ways to effectively address the problem. William T. Mautz, Ph.D, of Children’s Neuropsychological Services in Andover, Arlington and Newton, Massachusetts and Exeter, New Hampshire, indicated that his practice treats a large teen population from both public and independent schools and the problem of vaping cuts across all settings. He explained that teens don’t recognize the dangers involved [More]

June 12th, 2018

Mindful Teen program a ‘hub of care’ for adolescents

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2012, Bradley Hospital launched its Mindful Teen program, which teaches teens the skills needed to manage a myriad of psychological challenges. Two years later, the program moved to a stricter, full dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) model and in 2016, the program became a hub for care. Kerri Kim, Ph.D., program manager for the Mindful Teen program, explained that staff underwent intensive training before implementing the existing Mindful Teen model. She noted that an increase in the number of teens admitted to the inpatient units at Bradley and other area hospitals provided the impetus to enhance the program. Some teens [More]

June 12th, 2018

VT braces for loss of psychiatric bed Medicaid funding

By Janine Weisman

A special waiver exempts Vermont from a decades-old restriction prohibiting states from using Medicaid funds to cover services for non-elderly adults with mental health conditions in hospital settings with more than 16 beds. But Vermont’s waiver is set to expire starting in 2021 and phase out completely in 2025. That would leave the state on the hook for the $23 million in federal dollars being used to provide treatment for patients ages 21 to 64 at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital (VPCH) in Berlin and Brattleboro Retreat, said Department of Mental Health (DMH) Commissioner Melissa Bailey. A proposal among an [More]

June 11th, 2018

Marketing is key to building practice but must be done with careful planning

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In today’s competitive world where everything from the pens floating around at the bottom of a laptop bag to the mugs sitting on the kitchen counter has a brand on it, most businesses prioritize a marketing plan. If a psychological practice is also a business, with rent to pay, staff to hire, and a “product” to sell, does it follow that psychologists should also consider instituting a marketing plan? The answer is, yes, but also…within certain parameters and with careful planning. There has long been some hesitation within mental health towards marketing, with the idea that, in order to “sell [More]