Articles, Leading Stories

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]

February 10th, 2018

Mental health, harassment among Vermont’s priorities

By Eileen Weber

Vermont’s House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-Grand Isle-Chittenden) and Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (D/Prg-Chittenden) want to collaborate with Governor Phil Scott this year on legislation for education, clean waterways, a $15 minimum wage, better mental healthcare and stronger sexual harassment policies and procedures. In the wake of rampant opioid addiction and the #MeToo movement, the two relevant issues are mental health and sexual harassment. Ashe and Johnson are in favor of legislation that not only addresses the high cost of prescription drugs but also limits prescription pain killers. Johnson said the opioid epidemic may account for the rise in [More]

February 9th, 2018

Psychologists grapple with issues of racism, diversity in therapy

By Pamela Berard

As the world becomes more diverse, it’s a good time for psychologists to have a social justice philosophy for their practices, according to Charmain F. Jackman, Ph.D. Everybody benefits when we’re all working toward cultural competency,” said Jackman, a licensed clinical/forensic psychologist whose metro-Boston area private practice, Innovative Psychological Services, recently hosted a panel discussion, “Join the Conversation: Navigating Racism & Other ‘Isms’ in Therapy.” Attendees discussed strategies for mental health professionals to effectively address issues such as racism, xenophobia and heterosexism, whether working with clients who have experienced discrimination, with clients who express offensive comments in sessions or through [More]

February 8th, 2018

Rural Massachusetts experiences psychiatric bed increase

By Phyllis Hanlon

Across the Commonwealth, particularly in rural areas, the need for more inpatient care for patients with mental health issues continues to grow. In recent months, small towns in the central part of the state have seen an uptick in the number of psychiatric inpatient beds and services. In October 2015, Heywood Healthcare in Gardner purchased a former teaching convent in Petersham that had housed the Sisters of Assumption. Rebecca Bialicki, Ph.D, vice president for Community Health and Chief Change Agent at Heywood Healthcare, noted that the property encompasses 21 acres and a 75,000 square foot building with two wings. “It [More]

February 8th, 2018

Psychologists help people navigate life transitions

By Phyllis Hanlon

Psychological intervention can help ease life’s transitions–everything from positive events like marriage, a new baby or career advancement to more dire situations such as divorce, chronic illness, injury or the death of a loved one. Emily Mohr, Ph.D, defines life transition as anything that shifts someone’s sense of self or identity that is not temporary, but happens because of the passage of time.” Mohr, public education coordinator for the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA), southern regional representative for the MPA Board of Directors and practitioner at Child & Family Psychological Services, PLLC, in Weymouth, Massachusetts noted, “Both happy and unhappy events [More]

February 7th, 2018

Grants to NAMI Rhode Island fund youth programs

By Pamela Berard

Two recent grants will help NAMI Rhode Island, the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, continue to enhance mental health education programs for young people. A $15,000 Rhode Island Foundation grant will allow NAMI to increase training opportunities and add presenters for Ending the Silence, a classroom program that was first developed by an Illinois NAMI chapter and is now one of the national organization’s signature education and support programs. “We were trained up on this program for the first time last year and we saw the promise in it, because it offers some new things that [More]

February 7th, 2018

Trauma training, reality TV all in a day’s work for Jessica Griffin, Psy.D

By Catherine Robertson Souter

When a television producer first asked Jessica Griffin, PsyD, if she would consider taking an on-air consultant role on an upcoming reality show, she scoffed at the idea. An associate professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at UMass Medical School and executive director of UMASS Medical School’s Child Trauma Training Center with a private clinical practice in the Worcester area, Griffin did not see herself as the reality-show type. Still, with some prodding from Hollywood and much discussion with colleagues, friends and family, Griffin decided to jump in. She first served as a consulting psychologist on the show, “Seven Year Switch,” [More]

February 6th, 2018

Report documents problems at Maine detention center

By Janine Weisman

Understaffing has contributed to “dangerous and unhealthy conditions for both youth and staff” at Maine’s only state juvenile detention center, an independent report finds. Seven vacant Juvenile Program Worker positions at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland led to the use of regular forced overtime last year when the report by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) was compiled. The overtime was necessary to achieve a required staff to youth ratio of 1:8 during waking hours and 1:16 during overnight hours. The report made public in December was commissioned by the Maine Juvenile [More]

February 5th, 2018

More work to be done to meet need for child mental health services

By Janine Weisman

No clinician would dispute using the word “crisis” to describe the reality that despite greater public awareness about mental disorders in youth, many young people with severe mental disorders never receive the specialty mental health care they need. “I think there has been a crisis for some time,” said Robert P. Franks, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Judge Baker Children’s Center (JBCC) in Boston and a member of the American Psychological Association’s Board of Professional Affairs. “Most estimates are that only 20 to 40 percent of kids that need mental health services get them.” As many as [More]

January 1st, 2018

Treatment varies for sexual offenders

By Phyllis Hanlon

Clinicians who treat sexual offenders tailor treatment to the offense. Throughout her career Susan Rudman, Ph.D., Northern Regional representative for the Massachusetts Psychological Association, member of the MPA board of directors, forensic psychologist and private practitioner in Salem, Mass., has treated hundreds of males, and a handful of females, who present with various underlying reasons for sexually offensive behavior. From a chaotic family life as a child and “male rage” to the need to exert power over another and “distortion issues,” such as poor social skills, each offender has usually experienced some sort of trauma, she said. Most of Rudman’s [More]

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