Articles, Leading Stories

October 1st, 2010

College drinking: study findings promote motivational intervention

By Phyllis Hanlon

Drinking on campus has become an integral part of the college experience for some. But consider some statistics released by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): approximately 1,800 college students die each year from alcohol-related accidents; nearly 600,000 students suffer injuries directly associated to alcohol use; around 700,000 students are assaulted by others who have been drinking, and about 97,000 students are victims of date rape or sex where alcohol is a factor. The June 2010 issue of The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology published findings from a trial conducted by Mark Wood, Ph.D., professor of [More]

October 1st, 2010

Study: Maternal affection impacts adult mental health

By Pamela Berard

A new study suggests that infants who received high levels of maternal affection may be better able to deal with life stressors as adults. The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, was based on 482 people in a Providence, R.I., birth cohort of the National Collaborative Perinatal Project in the late 1950s/early 1960s. As part of the project, psychologists observed and objectively rated mothers during routine developmental assessment of their eight-month-olds. The psychologists rated how the mother coped with her child’s tests and how she responded to the child. The amount of affection was categorized in [More]

October 1st, 2010

Proposed bill would help homeless in Vermont

By Pamela Berard

Legislation introduced in the U.S. House could combat homelessness in small states by increasing the small-state minimum allotment for the Projects for Assistance in Transition for Homelessness (PATH) program. Vermont Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) co-sponsored the PATH Enhancement Bill, which would increase the small-state minimum from $300,000 to $750,000 per year. Created in 1990, PATH funds state efforts to provide outreach and services to those suffering from mental illness or substance abuse and who are at risk of becoming homeless. While many states have seen increased funding since the program was established, a number of smaller states – including Vermont [More]

August 21st, 2010

Trends in growth areas reflect social, cultural conditions

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2008, the American Psychological Association (APA) identified six growth areas for the profession: public health, seniors, veterans, government service, the workplace and courtrooms. Today, some of those areas, along with new ones, hold potential for climbing the career ladder. Jessica L. Kohout, Ph.D., director of the Center for Workforce Studies, Science Directorate at the APA, says, “We don’t have any crystal balls, but we can suggest some [growth] areas. Public health, as in primary health care settings and clinics, geropsych, veterans and federal facilities remain strong. These career paths are obviously driven by new health care initiatives, the aging [More]

August 21st, 2010

How can psychologists best market themselves?

By Ami Albernaz

Between the down economy and managed care woes, many psychologists have been rethinking their practices and questioning how to give them a boost. The way forward, though, might not be so clear: Does it take Web skills? Should you write a book or do something you might not have considered? New England Psychologist spoke with practice consultants as well as psychologists who have successfully raised their profile to get their advice. Not surprisingly, making the most of the Internet is a big piece – but it’s not the only one. Here are seven tips for getting your name out and [More]

August 21st, 2010

Coalition helps service members and families get help

By Pamela Berard

When soldiers are deployed, it’s like dropping a pebble into a pool. “There is a major ripple effect,” says Vermont National Guard LTC. Marc Goudreau. “Everybody is impacted.” Returning soldiers suffer from higher unemployment rates, domestic issues and divorce, posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. “If these service members are going to have these issues, if we’re not as a community bonding together to try to support these individuals, we’re all going to feel the pain down the road,” Goudreau adds. Goudreau is part of a Vermont coalition helping service members and their families access assistance. One of the [More]

August 21st, 2010

E-mail screening for depression studied

By Ami Albernaz

In an age in which most college students spend vast amounts of time online, screening for depression via e-mail might make sense as a simpler, more cost-effective alternative to in-person screenings, recent research from a Massachusetts General Hospital team suggests. Prompting depressed students to get professional help, however, is still a challenge. An MGH team led by Irene Shyu, B.A., a former research coordinator at the hospital’s Depression Clinical and Research Program, invited undergraduate and graduate students at four unidentified U.S. colleges to complete a depression screening survey online. A total of 631 consented. Shyu says the study was an [More]

August 21st, 2010

Project gives hope, direction

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Many times, the people on the front lines of mental health care, those in recovery or currently being treated, can feel lost in the maze. From finding appropriate care to making their way in the world, getting back to an ordinary life can be confusing and overwhelming. Thanks to a project called “A Day In The Life: Breaking a Deafening Silence,” those voices are being heard and it’s a sound that can make a room full of people eerily silent or erupt in spontaneous applause. With a new project created by Connecticut’s North Central Regional Mental Health Board, the experiences [More]

August 21st, 2010

Smoking bans: the right step or an unnecessary burden for patients?

By Pamela Berard

In May, Vermont State Hospital joined a growing number of psychiatric facilities to ban smoking from its grounds. The trend is divisive in the field. Those in favor of the ban cite how smoking disproportionally shortens the lifespan of those with mental illness and also can interfere with the metabolism of medications. Others believe it may be too much for someone in the throes of a crisis to tackle smoking cessation, too. A 2006 National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors survey of 222 facilities indicated that 41 percent had already banned smoking on the premises, but many more [More]

August 21st, 2010

Oil spill exacts collective mental health toll

By Nan Shnitzler

Direct mental health effects of the Gulf oil spill appear to be scarce in New England, but that doesn’t mean there is no psychological impact. On an individual basis, such an unnatural event can elicit a host of fears and concerns and dramatize how much in the world is out of our control, says psychiatrist Keith Ablow, M.D., an assistant professor at Tufts Medical School. “This breach in the earth’s surface can speak to people who lost loved ones to uncontrollable cancer, it can reawaken a sense of helplessness as the economy makes their lives messy and anyone who is [More]

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