Articles, Leading Stories

March 1st, 2015

Does gender play a role in treatment?

By Phyllis Hanlon

The World Health Organization reports that depression is the most common women’s mental health problem and, although more research is needed, this disorder may be more persistent in females than in men. Some psychologists do offer more gender-specific therapy, while others prefer to treat each client on an individual basis, regardless of sex. Julie B. Wolter, Psy.D., president of the Center for Self Development, P.C., Nashua, N.H., said that depression often depends on how the individual identifies. For example, she finds men typically view themselves as the provider; job loss could shatter that notion and prompt depression. “Men come in [More]

March 1st, 2015

Grants support integration

By Rivkela Brodsky

Ten organizations in Massachusetts have been awarded $1.3 million in funding to support work integrating behavioral health and medical care. The new grant program of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, called Fostering Effective Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care, provides one-year funding to community health centers, community-based behavioral health centers and hospital-based programs in the state that are already doing work in this area. The idea is to spend a year looking at how these organizations are addressing the issue of comorbidity to assist the foundation in creating guidelines for a three-year grant in this area, [More]

March 1st, 2015

Program relies on cultural sensitivity to treat refugees

By Janine Weisman

Before she started working with new Americans and refugees, Karen Fondacaro, Ph.D., a University of Vermont clinical psychology professor and director of its Behavior Therapy and Psychotherapy Center, never brought religion into treatment services. But these clients have taught Fondacaro that religion and spirituality can enhance treatment. “Sometimes we end up praying in sessions. We end groups with prayer,” Fondacaro said. “We just have to be much more open-minded and curious than judgmental.” Fondacaro directs Connecting Cultures, a mental health program for refugees from about 25 countries who have resettled in Vermont, many of whom have experienced torture and trauma. [More]

March 1st, 2015

Maria Montanaro is new behavioral health director

By Janine Weisman

The new director of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) has a track record of transformation, experience that should serve Maria Montanaro, well as the state tackles a public mental health system many say is in crisis. Gov. Gina Raimondo’s choice to lead the agency that oversees long-term hospital care, mental health and psychiatric services, substance-abuse prevention and treatment and residential and day programs for people with developmental disabilities, started work Feb. 2. She had previously been chief executive officer of Magellan Behavioral Care of Iowa, where she managed more than $330 million in [More]

March 1st, 2015

Veterans’ suicide prevention bill supported

By Rivkela Brodsky

Losing one veteran to suicide is one veteran too many, says Connecticut Veterans Affairs Commissioner Joseph Perkins. “If a veteran takes his one life one time, to me that is a big issue,” he said. “To say that 22 people a day, which means that across this country, 8,000 veterans are taking their lives a year, that’s out of control. That’s not acceptable.” Perkins is referencing a figure which has been used by lawmakers – including U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) – urging support of federal legislation that addresses this issue, called the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans [More]

March 1st, 2015

Settlement reached in Quinnipiac University case

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The case of a student placed on mandatory medical leave from college after seeking mental health counseling has reached a settlement agreement after a three year process. In December, Quinnipiac University, a private school located in Hamden, Conn., agreed to a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding a complaint filed by a former student alleging that the school violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The school, which admits no wrongdoing, has agreed to pay the student $17,000 for emotional compensation and another $15,126 to cover tuition payments that were [More]

March 1st, 2015

Study: Transgender youth have more negative outcomes

By Pamela Berard

Transgender youth have a higher rate of negative mental health outcomes than non-transgender youth, according to a new study. Study results showed transgender youth had a higher probability of being diagnosed with depression when compared to non-transgender youth (50.6 percent vs. 20.6 percent); and higher probabilities of suffering from anxiety (26.7 vs. 10), attempting suicide (17.2 vs. 6.1) and engaging in self-harming activities without lethal intent (16.7 vs. 4.4). The study was based on data from the Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center in Boston, and compared the electronic health records of 180 transgender patients (ages 12 to 29) to non-transgender [More]

March 1st, 2015

Musical training promotes emotional growth

By Susan Gonsalves

Musical training can positively affect a child’s emotional and behavioral growth according to a new study. James J. Hudziak, M.D., a professor of psychiatry, medicine and pediatrics at the University of Vermont and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families, built upon data garnered by the National Institutes of Health Magnetic Resonance (MRI) Study of Normal Brain Development. Hudziak and a team of researchers studied the brain scans of 232 children ages six to 18, who he noted did not exhibit emotional problems or anxiety. The study showed that children with musical training experienced increased cortical thickness. [More]

March 1st, 2015

N.H. schools get $9.75 million grant

By Howard Newman

Three New Hamphsire school districts are splitting a $9.75 million federal grant that will improve mental health services in their educational facilities. The five-year grant, which begins this fall, is being provided by the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education). Schools in Berlin, Franklin and School Administrative Unit #7 (Colebrook, Stewartstown and Pittsburg) are participating in the program. This project has two major components, according to Mary Steady, M.Ed., administrator of Safe Schools Healthy Students, an office of the New Hampshire Department of Education. The first component [More]

March 1st, 2015

Kennedy Forum updates mental health

By Phyllis Hanlon

On February 3, the Kennedy Forum presented a live webcast in collaboration with the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) to announce the launch of the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research at MSM’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute. The webcast featured former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy and former Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., who released new public opinion research on the state of mental health across the nation and also reported how the Center plans to advance an agenda for “real, achievable change.” Care for physical and mental health continues to operate in silos in spite of the [More]

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