Leading Stories, Articles

August 31st, 2018

Conversion therapy ban passes in New Hampshire, fails in Massachusetts and is vetoed in Maine

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a movement that seems to be growing, a ban on mental health professionals providing conversion therapy for people under 18 has been signed into law in 15 states. There have been five bans this year alone. In June, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill banning the practice in that state. “There has been a real cultural shift,” said Shannon Bader, Ph.D, A.B.P.P., the legislative chair for the New Hampshire Psychological Association. “We were the 14th state with an outright ban.” Historically, conversion therapy has included everything from instruction on why and how to change to shaming the [More]

August 31st, 2018

What’s in a name?

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

You’re sitting in your doctor’s waiting room when the receptionist calls the name of the next patient. No one responds, she calls the name again, and prompted by curiosity, you look up from your magazine to meet her puzzled gaze. She repeats the name, this time adding the surname, and you wonder why she is calling your father. No, wait, Dad is long gone, and then you realize the receptionist is calling you. If you’ve ever had this happen to you, then, like me, you were given a name at birth that no one ever used. In my case, my [More]

August 30th, 2018

Border separation takes emotional toll on children

By Eileen Weber

Reports of family separation at the Mexican border set off a firestorm. Video and audio demonstrated the conditions in which the more than 3,000 children lived. An estimated 1,600 parents are still in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. With reunification underway, the Trump administration recently admitted that more than 450 immigrant parents separated from their children may have been deported. “I find Trump’s policy of separating children from parents shocking, appalling, and extremely cruel,” said Richard McNally, Ph.D, professor and director of clinical training in the department of psychology at Harvard University. McNally has focused much of his [More]

August 30th, 2018

Emphasizing psychosocial treatments for ADHD

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

It’s difficult to keep focused on outcomes that are likely to result in the greatest long-term success for your clients. One such example is in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. It’s becoming increasingly less common for clinicians to even see children who present with ADHD, because of the emphasis of medication treatment – stimulants – for this concern. According to 2016 U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention data, 62 percent of children receive medication for treatment, while only 47 percent received a behavioral intervention. The number of children who receive behavioral interventions decreases significantly [More]

August 29th, 2018

Goldwater Rule is re-visited

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1964, presidential candidate Barry Goldwater issued some alarming “extremist” statements, drawing criticism from the general public and some mental health professionals. The uproar prompted FACT magazine to survey 12,356 psychiatrists regarding Goldwater’s mental health status. While none of the respondents had personally spoken with or examined Goldwater, they provided negative opinions on his psychological health, deeming him unfit to serve as president of the United States. In the wake of serious backlash following the release of the survey results, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) passed the “Goldwater Rule,” which made it unethical for a psychiatrist to issue a statement [More]

August 29th, 2018

Treatment resistance is challenge for practitioners

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Patient X doesn’t show up for an appointment–again. He calls and explains that his dog was sick/mother needed a ride/ car broke down. Client J is late for nearly every appointment. Patient K offers every excuse she can think of for why a particular solution will not work for her–no matter the solution. Patient N, a teenager, is openly critical of you, your clothes, your hair, and your skills as a therapist. No one said that life as a therapist would be easy. No matter the population–younger, older, more or less seriously ill, there are at least one or two [More]

August 29th, 2018

CDC report shows challenge facing public health campaign goals to prevent suicide

By Janine Weisman

The World Health Organization wants to reduce the suicide rate by 10 percent by 2020. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Project 2025 wants to reduce it 20 percent by 2025. The Zero Suicide movement aims to prevent 100 percent of suicides in the first 30 days after a patient is discharged from inpatient or day treatment. Are these goals realistic when new federal data show the reverse has actually been happening? Twenty-five states saw their suicide rates rise by more than 30 percent between 1999 and 2016, including four of the six New England states. That’s according to a [More]

August 28th, 2018

Gender identity added to NH anti-discrimination law

By Pamela Berard

Discrimination in employment, housing, or places of public accommodation on the basis of gender identity is now prohibited in New Hampshire. House Bill 1319 was signed into law in June and added gender identity to the state’s existing anti-discrimination legislation, along with age, sex, race, color, marital status, physical or mental disability, religious creed, national origin, and sexual origin. The legislation defines gender identity as “a person’s gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth. Gender-related identity may be [More]

August 28th, 2018

RI police group concerned about mental health training

By Eileen Weber

The Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association backed late-session legislation in June that attempted to overturn a 2016 law requiring mental health training for police officers. Complying with the National Council of Behavioral Health’s flagship program, Mental Health First Aid USA, it teaches the skills to recognize mental illness, helps assess the risks, and connect individuals with the necessary care. “Mental health training is targeted in how to respond and deescalate the situation,” said Beth Lamarre, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Rhode Island. With nearly two million mentally ill individuals booked into jails every year, the [More]

August 28th, 2018

Retirement planning: Pay yourself first

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

When someone suggested I start thinking about setting up an account for my retirement, I put it on my list for “later.” Later didn’t come until much, much later when I finally woke up to the fact that unless I prepared for a retirement someday, I’d be working until the day I died. Actually, even that didn’t scare me much. Several of my role models were women in their 70s and 80s who were sharp as ever and maintaining private practices. It didn’t occur to me at the time that doing so should be a choice, not a necessity. Eventually, [More]