Articles, Leading Stories

March 7th, 2018

Report: Massachusetts is healthiest state

By Susan Gonsalves

Massachusetts jumped up a spot and is now designated as the healthiest state, according to a report from America’s Health Rankings. The 171-page report from the United Health Foundation and American Public Health Association takes into consideration 35 measures for policy, clinical care, behaviors, community and environment. The overall rankings for the other New England states are as follows: Vermont, third; Connecticut, fifth; New Hampshire, eighth; Rhode Island, eleventh; and Maine, twenty-third. Massachusetts achieved the slot based on high marks for having the highest concentration of mental health providers (547.3 per 100,000 population), more than 200 primary care physicians and [More]

March 6th, 2018

A proper introduction

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Many of you are familiar with Psych Central, and hopefully for those of you who are, you’re as happy as I am that we’re able to carry on the wonderful publishing tradition of New England Psychologist. But I suspect there are many professionals who are unfamiliar with us or our history. The roots of Psych Central began while I attended Nova Southeastern University working on my doctorate. In my first year there in 1990, my childhood best friend took his own life back home. As anyone who’s been touched by suicide knows, it was a devastating loss. It also drove [More]

March 6th, 2018

In-service training to focus on police officers’ mental health

By Catherine Robertson Souter

There were 19 deaths of police officers by suicide in Massachusetts in 2016 and 2017, the fourth highest number of suicides in the country. That is not fourth highest rate per 1,000 but fourth highest total number overall. The state is the 15th largest by population. According to Blue H.E.L.P., a non-profit law enforcement mental health awareness group based in Auburn, Mass., there were 286 deaths nationwide. A bill currently before the state’s legislature looks to address the issue by mandating in-service training on mental health as well as annual mental wellness and suicide prevention courses for all current officers. [More]

March 5th, 2018

DMH initiative aims to expedite psychiatric inpatient admissions

By Phyllis Hanlon

People with mental health conditions routinely experience long wait times in hospital emergency departments. Acknowledging this problem, Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders convened a task force last spring to develop appropriate interventions. EOHHS, together with the Department of Mental Health (DMH), MassHealth and the Department of Public Health (DPH) created the Expedited Psychiatric Inpatient Admission Policy, a multi-pronged approach that launched on February 1. Daniela Trammel, DMH director of communication and community engagement, explained that the EOHHS chaired and partnered with the Division of Insurance (DOI) in convening a task force comprised of insurance carriers, psychiatric [More]

March 5th, 2018

Lawmakers seek to strengthen parity in Rhode Island

By Pamela Berard

Rhode Island lawmakers are considering several proposals to strengthen mental healthcare and substance use disorder treatment. Among budget items Gov. Gina M. Raimondo included in her proposal to the state General Assembly in mid-January, are: The creation of an acute mental health crisis center to help people navigate urgent mental health and substance use disorder crises and facilitate better connections to ongoing mental healthcare resources; The development of a benchmarking study under the leadership of the state Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC), to benchmark under-investment in mental healthcare and provide recommendations about investments/policies for improving mental health provided [More]

March 4th, 2018

Causes of disenfranchised grief: A reminder for therapists

By New England Psychologist Staff

I’ll never forget my first lesson in the meaning of disenfranchised grief. While interning, I was assigned to a young woman who had been referred by her doctor for depression. In our first session, I heard her story. She had miscarried her first pregnancy only a few months before. “Everyone tells me to get over it,” she said. “When I was crying in the hospital, a nurse told me that miscarriage is nature’s way to end pregnancies that aren’t quite right and that I’m young so I will have other babies. But I wanted this baby I had already named. [More]

March 2nd, 2018

You know you’re getting old when…

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

We’ve all heard it said that you’re only as old as you think you are, but I’m proud of my three score and ten. This milestone is a privilege denied to many and each new day is a gift to be used well, enjoyed, and savored. I am also aware that 70 is not especially old. According to gerontologists, it is threshold of our senior years, the midpoint of a stage of life beginning at 65 called the young old to be followed, if we are lucky, by the old beginning at 75, and the oldest old at 85. Still, [More]

March 2nd, 2018

Interview with Katie Lewis, Ph.D., recipient of the Robert S. Wallerstein Fellowship in Psychoanalytic Research

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Katie Lewis, Ph.D., a research psychologist at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Mass., is the recipient of the Robert S. Wallerstein Fellowship in Psychoanalytic Research. The fellowship carries with it a minimum of five years. The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis chose to support Lewis’ research on the impact of interpersonal relationships on suicidal ideation and urges. The study will track up to 150 residents of Austen Riggs, a psychiatric hospital and residential treatment program, over a period of two weeks through a smart phone app designed by Lewis’ team. The purpose of the research is to understand how [More]

February 11th, 2018

Transitions

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Life is all about transitions. It’s what keeps things interesting and challenges our complacency. I’m honored to take over the reins of New England Psychologist, an independent voice that began life as Massachusetts Psychologist in 1993 by Denise Yocum, Psy.D., expanding to all of New England in 2002. Dr. Yocum approached me at the beginning of October to discuss the possibility of purchasing the publication after deciding the time was ripe for retirement. Following a few discussions, it became clear we were aligned in both interests and beliefs. I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Yocum for her [More]

February 10th, 2018

New Hampshire to develop 10-year mental health plan

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Looking to design a better system, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently awarded a contract to Keene University’s Center for Behavioral Health Innovation to develop a 10-year mental health plan for the state. To be released in June, the report will offer a roadmap for the state’s mental health services moving forward. “The last plan was issued in 2008. A lot has changed since that time,” said Katja Fox, director of the DHHS Division for Behavioral Health. “The state wants to be able to look at how services can be delivered to address the needs [More]

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