Articles, Leading Stories

June 1st, 2010

Suicide prevention plan updated

By Catherine Robertson Souter

When it comes to suicide, statistics alone don’t tell the whole story. On one hand, New England and the entire Northeast have the lowest overall rates of suicide. In a 2005 study, the Northeast had an average suicide rate of 8.1 compared to a high of 12.1 in the west. Montana had the highest and the District of Columbia the lowest. But, even though Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island came in 44th, 47th and 48th, the more rural New England states had higher rates of suicide. Maine was 18th, Vermont was 22nd and New Hampshire, with its overall ranking of [More]

June 1st, 2010

Number of homeless youth on the rise

By Ami Albernaz

The APA task force report on homelessness offered a sobering picture of homeless youth, noting that around 7.6 percent of young people ages 12-20 spend at least one night per year in a shelter. That statistic, though, is from 1998; in recent years – particularly given the downturn in the economy – the numbers of teens and young adults without homes appears to be growing. For the 2008-2009 school year, the number of homeless youth enrolled in schools nationwide increased 17 percent. In Massachusetts, there are now around 12,000 homeless teenagers, of whom 5,000 are unaccompanied (meaning not in the [More]

June 1st, 2010

Maine passes assisted outpatient treatment law

By Phyllis Hanlon

In April, Maine enhanced its existing Progressive Treatment Plan, which authorized two public hospitals – Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor and Riverview Psychiatry Center in Augusta – to ask the courts for a commitment order of community-based treatment for six months with services provided by the Assertive Community Treatment program. Some of the provisions in the new law include expanding the criteria for involuntary commitment, extending the treatment timeframe from six to 12 months and allowing licensed physicians, registered physician’s assistants, certified psychiatric clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners and licensed clinical psychologists to sign involuntary commitment papers. Maine’s assisted [More]

June 1st, 2010

Safety standards passed in school use of restraints, seclusion

By Pamela Berard

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation aimed at preventing and reducing the use of physical restraint and seclusion techniques in schools. “The Keeping All Students Safe Act” was passed in March, outlining federal minimum safety standards in schools, similar to protections currently in place for hospitals and other community-based facilities. Sen. Chris Dodd, (D-Conn.) introduced the Senate version, “Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act,” in December and hopes to move this legislation by the end of this Congressional session, whether as a stand-alone bill or part of a larger piece of legislation. Dodd wrote and helped pass [More]

June 1st, 2010

Rhode Island program helps siblings of special needs kids

By Jennifer E Chase

At the beginning of her career, Debra Lobato, Ph.D., was an intern in a program that provided in-home services for very young children diagnosed with special needs. While Lobato consulted the parents of children newly diagnosed with illnesses that were already wreaking havoc on the family, the same thing happened, a lot: “I’d have the other little kids jumping all over me.” The “other little kids” were the siblings of the diagnosed child, but that wasn’t the scenario in every household. Other times she’d meet with the parents and diagnosed child privately, while the siblings peeked around corners to catch [More]

June 1st, 2010

Fourth recovery high school planned for Massachusetts

By Jennifer E Chase

Hearing the concerns of his community, Brockton, Mass. superintendent Matthew Malone, Ph.D., is supporting a regional initiative to bring a high school for students with addiction to his corner of the Bay State. Recovery high schools, sometimes called “sobriety high schools,” operate under the premise that students leaving a detox or similar program who return to the same environment from which they came have a harder time staying clean. But, surround them in a drug-free environment staffed by teachers and psychology professionals and you strengthen their chance for success. Three such programs are in Massachusetts – Northshore Recovery High School [More]

June 1st, 2010

Q&A: Self destructive behavior analyzed

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Scars, burn marks, and teens who wear long-sleeved shirts in 90 degree weather – what do they have in common? Hint, it’s a behavior that is reported by one support group to affect up to 20 percent of adolescents. The answer? Self injury. Self-injury, which often takes the form of cutting and primarily occurs in adolescents, is nothing new. In fact, according to Matthew Nock, Ph.D, self injury has been around for thousands of years but it has only recently been looked at closely by mental health researchers. A professor of psychology and director of the Laboratory for Clinical and [More]

May 1st, 2010

The Art and Science of Mindfulness: Integrating Mindfulness Into Psychology and the Helping Professions

By Paul Efthim PhD

By Shauna L. Shapiro and Linda E. Carlson American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009 Mindfulness explained in clear, rigorous work Reviewed by Paul Efthim, Ph.D. The term “mindfulness” probably evokes a mixed or even negative response for some psychologists. This is unfortunate because we in the helping professions have much to learn from Buddhist thought and meditative disciplines. Why is the field of mindfulness not more fully embraced by psychologists? Possible explanations include a lack of accurate information about mindfulness, unfamiliar terminology, resistance to working with the body in a non-intellectual way and a general mistrust of spiritual and experiential [More]

May 1st, 2010

Medical Illness and Positive Life Change: Can Crisis Lead to Personal Transformation?

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

Edited by Crystal L. Park, Suzanne C. Lechner, Michael H. Antoni, and Annette L. Stanton American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009 Stress-related growth examined in challenging work Reviewed by James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D Medical illnesses and chronic health problems are the focus of this book but not from a negative or fatalistic perspective. Rather, the book examines positive life changes as sequelae to serious illness. Akin to positive psychology, the concepts and applications detailed in the book have been described interchangeably as stress-related growth, posttraumatic growth and benefit finding. The editors assembled 12 chapters that are based on [More]

May 1st, 2010

Re-thinking the right stuff

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The last time I changed jobs I thought I had found the best way to sort, pack and move important stuff from my old workplace to the new office. That was a time of volatility in the job market for psychologists much like today and the likelihood of a short stay at the new institution made me reluctant to unpack. So, after moving the really important things, I drove around with enough heavy boxes in my trunk to rack up a hefty repair bill for new rear shock absorbers. The experience held a valuable lesson – since we carry the [More]

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