Leading Stories, Articles

December 1st, 2011

Deficit jeopardizes special education in E. Providence

By Nan Shnitzler

The city of East Providence, R.I., owes Bradley Hospital $4.5 million for in-district special education, a debt that has jeopardized the program and called attention to the school district’s $7 million budget deficit that could further erode special education services and staffing as well as send the city into receivership. In a letter dated Sept. 9 and in an Oct. 24 appearance before the E. Providence school committee, Bradley President and CEO Daniel Wall threatened to end the Bradley Partnership program if a payment plan wasn’t forthcoming. According to the letter, printed in published reports, the last payment the city [More]

December 1st, 2011

Holistic treatments help depression

By Jennifer E Chase

The results are in: You can easily enhance how you treat your patients’ depression at the holidays – or any time of year, for that matter – with this simple prescription: live healthfully. A new study about to begin through Butler Hospital’s Psychosocial Research Dept. is delving into the science behind how daily huffing and puffing through exercise, stretching through yoga or amping up one’s healthy foods quotient can increase patient’s response to depression therapy. The study is being led by Lisa A. Uebelacker, Ph.D., assistant professor (research) of psychiatry and human development, and family medicine at the Alpert Medical [More]

December 1st, 2011

Psychiatric Advance Directives empower patients, control treatment

By Phyllis Hanlon

The concept of advance directives was born in 1991 when the federal government introduced the Patient Self-Determination Act, which required all healthcare facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding to introduce patients to and educate health care professionals about these instruments. Shortly after, mental health advocates, drawing upon some of the elements in the advance directive, created a legal document specifically for those with serious mental illness. According to the National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives 25 states currently have psychiatric advance directives (PADs); Maine is the only New England state to implement a PAD statute. According to David [More]

December 1st, 2011

R.I. ranked first for mental illness, suicide attempts

By Pamela Berard

Rhode Island recently was atop two national studies, indicating the state had the highest rate of mental illness and suicide attempts. In a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study, R.I. had the highest rate of any mental illness among those ages 18 and older, at 24.2 percent. The national average was 19.7. Mass. was at 20.2; Conn., 19.7; N.H., 19.6; Maine, 20.9; and Vt., 19.7. R.I. also topped the SAMSHA study for serious mental illness, with a 7.2 rate (the national average was 4.6; no other New England state topped 4.7). Additionally, in a Centers for Disease Control [More]

December 1st, 2011

Young addicts need aid to change

By Janine Weisman

Young adults with severe addiction problems genuinely want to become clean and sober. They just don’t know how to do it, says a new study by the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and the Minnesota-based Butler Center for Research at Hazelden. Researchers say they were surprised by the high degree of motivation reported by 18 to 24-year-olds in the study at the time they entered a multidisciplinary 12-step-based residential treatment program. But the subjects had low coping skills, self-confidence and low commitment to support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, according to [More]

December 1st, 2011

Reduced SSI checks means drop in aid for mentally ill

By Jennifer E Chase

After months of voicing frustration and taking legal action over proposed cuts to their Supplementary Security Income (SSI) in the fall, Rhode Island’s elderly and disabled are losing their battle. The state’s Supreme Court has upheld the cuts as they were originally outlined and passed in Rhode Island’s budget. The cuts are part of an overall slash to state-wide human services, which will allegedly save the state some $900,000. In complaints argued before a rotating lineup of judges in September and October, plaintiffs claimed that since the people suffering the cuts are mostly elderly and mentally ill, the cuts targeted [More]

December 1st, 2011

Study: Self-harm patients not receiving mental health evaluations

By Pamela Berard

About half of self-harm patients treated in hospital emergency rooms and discharged did not receive a mental health evaluation before being sent home, according to a recent study. Mark Olfson, M.D., a psychiatrist at Columbia University and his colleagues examined a year’s worth of Medicaid claims. In 7,355 episodes of deliberate self-harm, 4,595 were discharged without being hospitalized (including more than one visit by some individuals). Of those discharged, 47.5 percent had received a mental health assessment in the emergency department and 52.4 percent received a follow-up outpatient mental health visit within 30 days. Olfson says adults who present to [More]

December 1st, 2011

Farm provides alternative to typical residential facility

By Jennifer E Chase

Gould Farm in Western, Mass., believes its few hundred acres is the perfect place for learning to cope and live with mental illness. Located among the Bay State’s bucolic Berkshire Mountains, in two short years it will turn 100 years old. And as the country’s oldest residential therapeutic community, it still does what founders William J. and Agnes Gould intended: provide psychosocial rehabilitation in a nurturing and non-institutional environment for adults age 18 and older. What separates Gould from other residential facilities is that the “farm” in its name isn’t for decoration. In 29 houses on 650 acres, staff and [More]

December 1st, 2011

Work with Asperger’s children highlighted

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For children with Asperger’s disorder, along with parents, educators and mental health professionals who work with them, establishing relationships can be difficult and frustrating but not, as it turns out, impossible. For years, the professional line on children and adults with Asperger’s and autism was that they were not capable of certain levels of emotional connection. But the people on the front lines knew differently from working with individuals with these conditions and recognizing their uniqueness. Richard Bromfield, Ph.D., a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a clinical psychologist with a practice in Brookline, Mass., has worked with Asperger’s [More]

November 1st, 2011

Deployment-related stress disorders on the increase

By Phyllis Hanlon

Few psychologists would challenge the notion that the ongoing Middle East conflicts are producing record numbers of behavioral health problems in military personnel. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 9.3 percent of veterans age 21-39 experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year; slightly more than half reported severe impairment in at least one of four role domains: home, work, relationships or social life, and 59.6 percent received treatment for depression. This increase in deployment stress-related disorders is prompting closer examination within the psychological community. The best way to understand what [More]