Articles, Leading Stories

May 1st, 2014

Reports: suicidal thoughts pre-date enlistment

By Rivkela Brodsky

Among other findings, new research suggests that soldiers experience the onset of suicidal thoughts and attempts before enlisting in the military and that many cases are linked with a prior mental disorder. Three reports published online in the March 5 issue of JAMA Psychiatry discuss the results of the first set of data to come from a five-year study funded by the Department of the Army and the National Institutes of Health to look at suicide and the military. This study was done in response to a jump in the military suicide rate, which has been climbing since the beginning [More]

May 1st, 2014

Inpatient beds: Demand but short supply

By Phyllis Hanlon

The process of deinstitutionalization, along with the subsequent closure of facilities and reduction in beds, began some 35 years ago. While community services were hailed as the best treatment option, they often did not prove to be an effective and appropriate approach for some individuals. The practice of closing beds continues today with some of the same repercussions experienced decades ago. Barbara Stone Amidon, Ph.D., has been on the Psychiatric Assessment Team at Cape Cod Hospital for the last 10 years. During that time she has witnessed children who present to the emergency room with a psychiatric diagnosis and then [More]

May 1st, 2014

Psychiatric hospital still slated to open this summer

By Catherine Robertson Souter

When the new state mental health hospital, Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital, comes on line in Berlin, Vermont, in July, it will have all the bells and whistles. With private rooms and bathrooms, separate wings that will house their own dining and meeting areas, advanced acoustical design to reduce noise, a greenhouse, garden and natural lighting throughout, the hospital has been designed using all of the most current theories for patient treatment in an environment aimed at reducing stress and supporting recovery. “This hospital is very modern in terms of the design that went into it,” says Jeff Rothenberg, LCMHC, who [More]

May 1st, 2014

Bullied children at risk for worse mental, physical health

By Rivkela Brodsky

Long after bruises have healed, kids may be dealing with the effects of painful bullying experiences on their mental and physical health. A new Boston Children’s Hospital study suggests children who are bullied are at risk for worse mental and physical health, greater depression symptoms and lower self-worth in the long term. “It’s the first study to comprehensively look at bullying over time in this fashion, to really look at the compounding effects and the lingering effects,” says Laura Bogart, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. “What we found is that continued bullying [More]

May 1st, 2014

Tragedy underscores need of intervention

By Howard Newman

When tragedy struck Ken and Danielle Lambert six years ago, they grieved for a short while and then took action. They never wanted anyone to experience the type of heartbreak and suffering they had faced. Their two children, Kaleigh, 5, and Shane, 4, and Danielle’s sister, Marci Thibault, died as the result of a horrifying psychotic incident. With the children in her car, Thibault pulled over to the side of Route 495 in Lowell, Mass., and then intentionally walked everyone into oncoming traffic. In April of 2008, Ken and Danielle formed a non-profit organization called Kaleigh, Shane and Marci for [More]

May 1st, 2014

Program adapts to changing system and challenges

By Pamela Berard

The Victims of Violence (VOV) Program of the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts may have won an award for innovation – but it has done so without wavering from its mission of three decades. VOV, a multi-site adult outpatient trauma clinic that provides a range of services, is marking its thirtieth year and was honored in April with an Innovation Award from the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance. Founded by psychologist Mary Harvey, Ph.D., and psychiatrist Judith Herman, M.D., VOV offers comprehensive mental health services for crime victims, their families and crime victimized communities. VOV emphasizes clinical care that can [More]

May 1st, 2014

Study: Neurofeedback helpful for ADHD

By Catherine Robertson Souter

According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of children aged 4-17 diagnosed with ADHD in the past 10 years has risen dramatically, from 7.8 percent in 2003 to 11 percent by 2011. It is a number that has researchers scrambling to find ways to treat these children in ways that may help them avoid medication and its potential side effects. “The CDC now shows the prevalence at 11 percent. That really is a lot of people,” says Naomi Steiner, M.D., developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. “There has been a gap in non-pharmaceutical [More]

May 1st, 2014

Online tool helps dieters lose weight

By Susan Gonsalves

A Web-based commercial weight loss program that pairs financial incentives with social influence has shown positive results, according to a recent study conducted by Miriam Hospital researchers. The findings were published in the February issue of JMIR Serious Games. Tricia Leahey, Ph.D., assistant professor of research at the hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Program and Brown Medical School, studied nearly 40,000 players of the online game, DietBet over a seven-month period from December 2012 to July 2013. On DietBet.com, players join a game to lose weight while betting on themselves. They have four weeks to lose at least four [More]

May 1st, 2014

Research looks at benefits of online game

By Susan Gonsalves

Age has an impact on the benefits people think they derive from playing the popular online game Bejeweled Blitz. Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D., a professor of psychology at UMass Amherst and undergraduate students Stacy Ellenberg and Kyoko Akimoto tracked survey answers from 10,000 adults aged 18 to 80 recruited through the Facebook game’s publisher PopCap games and Whitbourne’s blog. Results were published in the December 2013 issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. Whitbourne notes that five million people play Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. It is a three-match game with fast changing visual displays and a time element to it. [More]

May 1st, 2014

New Riverview leader hopes to bring new direction

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After a tumultuous few months, the mental health system in Maine will have new life breathed into it in the person of Robert Jay Harper, a former patient advocate with the Disability Rights Center, who was recently named acting superintendent at the Riverview Psychiatric Center, the state-run mental health hospital in Augusta. The hospital lost accreditation in October, losing nearly $20 million dollars in federal funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) after surveyors found issues with safety and patient rights. The system has had a number of concerns raised about procedure and safety over the years, [More]

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