Articles, Leading Stories

July 1st, 2017

Creativity: The path to identity

By Phyllis Hanlon

Museums house innumerable works from masters such as Renoir, Monet, Rodin and Jackson Pollock. But creativity doesn’t stop there. The family refrigerator might feature the creative renderings of a three-year old mind. And the fields of technology, science, health, education and more have produced their share of creative geniuses and innovation. Area psychologists helped to unravel the underpinnings of creativity and how it shapes a person’s identity. The research community defines creativity as something new or novel, original and task-appropriate, according to James Kaufman, Ph.D., professor of educational psychology at the NEAG School of Education at the University of Connecticut. [More]

July 1st, 2017

Dept. of Public Health approves bed closure

By Susan Gonsalves

The Department of Public Health conditionally approved UMass Memorial Medical Center’s plan to eliminate 13 of 27 inpatient psychiatry beds as part of a $30 million renovation project designed to increase the number of medical/surgical beds instead. In late April, hospital officials responded to a DPH request to outline how it would accommodate the region’s psychiatric patients following the bed reduction. In an 11-page letter, they described how they would address concerns about other facility options, patient insurance and transportation to alternate sites. UMMC CEO and President Eric Dickson has said that the remaining 14 beds in the “8 East,” [More]

July 1st, 2017

New Hampshire legislation expands mental health care

By Phyllis Hanlon

On May 11, the New Hampshire Senate unanimously passed an amendment to House Bill (HB) 400, which is intended to significantly improve access to beds for psychiatric patients and reorganize the state’s Division for Children, Youth and Families. Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) and Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) originally brought the mental health component to the legislation, which was introduced in January 2017. Citing a shortage in the capacity to provide emergency mental health care and long-term treatment for patients, the Senators proposed that the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services undertake and complete specific actions. [More]

July 1st, 2017

Shortage of prompt care for children highlighted

By Pamela Berard

Appointment availability is low – and wait times, long – for a family seeking care for a child with depression, according to a recent study. The study, published by the International Journal of Health Services, from Harvard Medical School researchers and others, found that access to outpatient pediatric mental health care, whether with a child psychiatrist or a pediatrician, in the five metropolitan areas used in the study was limited, even for those with private insurance or willing to pay out of pocket – although it was even more difficult for those on Medicaid. The authors used the Blue Cross [More]

July 1st, 2017

Study: Military with mental issues discharged for misconduct

By Catherine Robertson Souter

According to a federal study, a high number of military personnel are given less-than-honorable discharges in spite of the fact that they had been diagnosed with conditions such as PTSD and traumatic brain injury. In 2010, Congress passed a law requiring the military to assess the impact of a PTSD or TBI diagnosis before separation for misconduct and the DOD issued policies to address separations for misconduct that involve PTSD or TBI. The study, mandated as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), also found that Department of Defense policies on addressing the impact of these injuries are [More]

July 1st, 2017

“13 Reasons Why” sparks controversy

By Pamela Berard

Mental health professionals have expressed concern about “13 Reasons Why,” the Web television series on Netflix that tells the story of Hannah, a teen who leaves behind tapes outlining 13 reasons why she committed suicide. The National Association of School Psychologists issued guidance for educators and families about the series and said in a statement, “We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series. Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies.” The Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent [More]

July 1st, 2017

Study: Facebook makes you feel bad

By Janine Weisman

Nearly 1.3 billion daily active Facebook users around the world spend an average of 50 minutes each day using the social media network or one of its apps, according to the company. But they might be using Facebook at the risk of their own health and happiness. A recent study documented a negative association between Facebook use and overall well-being in contrast to the positive impact of in-person interactions. A pair of authors found that liking the content of others and clicking links significantly predicted later self-reports of diminished physical and mental health and life satisfaction. “If I go out [More]

July 1st, 2017

Teen’s viral Facebook post could be useful to therapists

By Janine Weisman

“I brushed my hair today” begins a Facebook post that appears at first glance to be the sharing of ordinary and otherwise unremarkable information. Except that the young author reveals it’s the first time in four weeks she attended to her own personal care and hygiene. The author is Katelyn Marie Lesho and her May 9 post about her struggle with depression has done something rather unordinary. Lesho’s 275-word post had generated nearly 300,000 shares, 233,000 like, love and sad emojis and 22,000 comments a month after she wrote it. The Georgia teenager described her hair as “matted and twisted [More]

July 1st, 2017

Depression decreases after intervention

By Susan Gonsalves

A five-year study, recently published in JAMA Psychiatry, showed that a brief depression intervention could reduce symptoms among mothers by 40 percent. Women with lower depressive symptom levels at the start had even more of a decrease at 61 percent. Boston Medical Center and collaborator Action for Boston Community Development’s Head Start screened more than 2,200 mothers at Boston-area Head Start locations. A randomized control trial of 230 women compared outcomes for mothers receiving conventional Head Start services and women who got those services and also took part in a six-session program called Problem Solving Education (PSE). Both groups were [More]

July 1st, 2017

Area of brain impacts anxiety about the future, study says

By Rivkela Brodsky

A  group of researchers at Dartmouth College have found a connection between an area of the brain, the striatum, and a person’s intolerance of uncertainty – anxiety or worry about the unknown. “We were interested in how uncertainty and ambiguity of potential future threat contribute to the generation of anxiety and how that might be represented in our brain,” said Justin Jim, Ph.D., lead author of the study, “Intolerance of Uncertainty Predicts Increased Stratial Volume,” which was published in the APA journal Emotion in May. “For some individuals, the uncertainty of what ‘might happen’ tomorrow, is actually worse than the [More]

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