Articles, Leading Stories

February 1st, 2015

APA consumer guide promotes parity awareness

By Janine Weisman

Four percent of Americans know there is a federal mental health parity law that requires insurance coverage of services for mental health and substance use disorders comparable to physical health coverage. Such low public awareness measured in an online survey commissioned last year by the American Psychological Association has prompted efforts to educate consumers and policymakers about the existence of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Passed in 2008 and taking effect Jan. 1, 2011, the mental health parity law prohibits annual limits on sessions and higher co-pays or deductibles for treatment of [More]

February 1st, 2015

Revamp to improve mental health area

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Natural light streams through a skylight. A dedicated shower and bathroom provides privacy. Two new safe rooms, with the ability to “swing” two more, provide a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the emergency department. For a small town Emergency Room, the newly renovated behavioral health area of the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene is seeing a renovation any bigger hospital would envy. After breaking ground last May, the hospital’s renovation project has been keeping pace with projections. The plan, approved by the New Hampshire State Department of Health and Human Services, will see only a slight expansion in [More]

February 1st, 2015

Assumption College promotes collaborative research

By Phyllis Hanlon

Faculty/student research has been a long-standing practice at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass.. But during the last five to eight years the institution has increased its research opportunities for students, according to Paula Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., professor of psychology and department chair at the college. Fitzpatrick attributes the renewed interest in collaborative research, in part, to a newly designed honors program launched in 2009. “The college created a summer fellowship where students could work on research projects with faculty. Additionally, the psychology department worked with administration to find funds for students who are not part of the honors program to conduct [More]

February 1st, 2015

Report: Pediatricians can play crucial role

By Pamela Berard

Pediatricians can play a key role in helping to identify mental health issues in new mothers, according to a report released by the Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI) of Connecticut. Barbara Ward-Zimmerman, Ph.D., licensed child psychologist, behavioral health and primary care integration consultant and one of the authors of the report, “Addressing Maternal Mental Health in the Pediatric Medical Home” said OB/GYNs should also be screening for mental health issues at regular intervals. She said it also makes sense for pediatricians to play a role in identifying challenges that new moms are facing. “The earlier we identify (challenges), the [More]

February 1st, 2015

Psychologist looks at both sides of love

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In recognition of the month-long celebration of love that is February, we spoke with K. Daniel O’Leary, Ph.D., distinguished professor of clinical psychology at Stony Brook University, whose research has looked at both the positive and negative aspects of modern relationships. On one side, O’Leary and colleagues released a study in 2012 that showed that the prevalence of intense feelings of love persist longer in monogamous relationships than previously thought. On the other side, the prevalence of physical aggression between partners is also higher than one might expect, especially in newlyweds. O’Leary has written a number of books and articles [More]

January 1st, 2015

APA ethics under investigation

By Phyllis Hanlon

New York Times reporter James Risen’s new book, “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War,” discloses the hidden costs of war on terror, shameful governmental practices and abuse of power. In this tome, Risen alleges that the American Psychological Association (APA) colluded with the Bush administration regarding torture of detainees. In response, the APA has issued several statements refuting the allegations. Rhea Farberman, executive director for communications at the APA, says that the organization is taking the allegations seriously and has engaged David H. Hoffman, an attorney with Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, to conduct a “thorough and objective” [More]

January 1st, 2015

R.I. tracking and treating its chronically homeless

By Janine Weisman

The numbers of homeless people in Rhode Island did what everyone hoped when volunteers fanned out across the state one night in January 2014 to count how many people were living in shelters and on the street. They went down. What the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development called its annual “point in time” estimate counted 1,190 homeless people, 20 of whom were unsheltered. That represented a 14 percent drop over 2013 when 1,190 homeless people were counted with 117 unsheltered and an overall decrease of 13.3 percent since 2007. But the numbers can get complicated. The Rhode Island [More]

January 1st, 2015

Hospital expands to meet needs

By Rivkela Brodsky

An increase in behavioral health patients staying more than 24 hours in Mid Coast Hospital’s emergency room has prompted the company to expand in two ways. The hospital in Brunswick, Maine, is paying $740,000 to add three urgent care bays off its waiting room and a secure behavioral health observation unit to its emergency department. “We’ve seen a 91 percent increase (between 2010-2014) in the care hours that we spend,” says Thomas Kivler, LCPC, CCS, director of the behavioral health division at Mid Coast. “About 25 percent of our care hours given are to behavioral health, even though that’s only [More]

January 1st, 2015

R.I. looks to fix mental health system

By Janine Weisman

Is Rhode Island’s public mental health system working? The answer was a resounding no from the crowd that filled Rhode Island College’s Sapinsley Hall for a forum on the subject one rainy night last November. But how to fix this broken system had no clear consensus, according to those polled at the November Publick Occurrences event, “Rhode Island’s Mental Health System: Condition Critical?” sponsored by the Providence Journal and Leadership Rhode Island. Nearly 100 audience members used remote controls to vote on multiple-choice questions. Eighty-six percent said the public mental health system was broken, the Providence Journal reported in an [More]

January 1st, 2015

Sandy Hook parents give feedback

By Pamela Berard

During testimony to the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings highlighted the need for trauma-trained mental health professionals and a clearer path to services following a crisis. The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission – comprised of 16 individuals from law enforcement, mental health, education and emergency response – has gathered information for the past two years and will make a broad series of public policy recommendations to enhance the safety of schools and community spaces and improve response to emergency situations. The November hearing was the last in 2014. As the commission [More]

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