Articles, Leading Stories

June 1st, 2015

Is aviation mental health flying under the radar?

By Phyllis Hanlon

When American Airlines hired pilot Steve Churchill in 1985, the company gave him a self-questionnaire intended to screen out individuals with serious psychological problems. Delta required its pilots to speak with a psychologist as part of the hiring process. Such measures provide minimal information regarding mental health, but some psychologists believe the industry could do more. Clinical psychologist and certified pilot and flight instructor Penny Levin, Ph.D., founder and owner of Aero-Psych in Lafayette Hill and Philadelphia, Penn., pointed out that pilots must manage a complex workload; maintain situational awareness; avoid fixation, complacency and fatigue; remain calm under stressful circumstances; [More]

June 1st, 2015

Maine resists Medicaid expansion

By Janine Weisman

There were 2,231 uninsured Mainers between 18 and 64 with a serious mental health disorder who could have accessed treatment services last year if the Pine Tree state had participated in the Medicaid Expansion Program under the Affordable Care Act. Maine remains the only state in the Northeast that rejected the program allowing states to expand Medicaid eligibility requirements for low-income Americans with incomes up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($16,242 per year for an individual in 2015). Participating states now number 28, with Montana poised to become the 29th once its governor obtains federal approval for [More]

June 1st, 2015

New commissioner outlines priorities

By Pamela Berard

This spring, clinical psychologist Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., was named commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services. Delphin-Rittmon served as acting commissioner since early March, following the departure of former Commissioner Patricia Rehmer. Delphin-Rittmon’s background includes serving as assistant professor and director of health equity and multicultural research and consultation with the Program for Recovery and Community Health in the Yale Department of Psychiatry. She is also senior policy advisor and co-director of the Office of Multicultural Healthcare Equality with Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services. In 2014, she completed a two-year White House appointment [More]

June 1st, 2015

R.I. bill provides for mental health services in prisons

By Howard Newman

There is a humanitarian side, as well as a practical aspect, to a new bill currently making its way through the Rhode Island legislature. Introduced by Senate Committee on Health & Human Services Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), Bill S-0652 calls for the state to implement an “evidence-based behavioral health care program for incarcerated adults with co-occurring substance use and mental disorders.” This program would be created by the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services Rhode Island, Elizabeth Roberts. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate on April 7. It now awaits approval by [More]

June 1st, 2015

RIPA president: plan for single licensing board ‘risky’

By Pamela Berard

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposed FY 2016 budget would consolidate 25 non-prescribing health professional boards into a single regulation and licensing board – a move that would combine psychologists with professions including cosmetologists/barbers, embalmers and athletic trainers. The Board of Psychology currently has five unpaid members – four psychologists and one public member, according to Peter M. Oppenheimer, Ph.D., who is a member of the board and also president of the Rhode Island Psychological Association. Under the governor’s proposal, the omnibus board would be chaired by the director of health and have 10 additional members, four of whom are [More]

June 1st, 2015

Study: Kids with ADHD treated with drugs

By Rivkela Brodsky

Nationally it appears most children are being treated for ADHD by medication alone, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Medication treatment was the single most common treatment with about 43 percent of children receiving medication alone,” said Susanna Visser, DrPH, lead epidemiologist of child development studies at the CDC and lead author on the study. “That was followed with combination therapies at 31 percent.” The study was the first national study by the CDC examining the use of behavioral therapy and supplements alongside medication to treat ADHD during 2009 and 2010 in children [More]

June 1st, 2015

Study: youth with psychopathic traits mask intense emotions

By Susan Gonsalves

Not all psychopaths are cold, callous and unfeeling. Nor are they untreatable. A new study by University of Vermont Professor Timothy Stickle, Ph.D. and graduate student Andrew Gill showed that a subset of youth exhibiting severe anti-social behaviors who were classified as callous and unemotional (CU) are actually highly anxious, depressed and distressed. The researchers studied 150 male and female youth ages 11 to 17 housed in juvenile detention centers whose behavior puts them at risk of developing psychopathic traits as adults. The research subjects were put into three different subgroups. One group, termed “primary psychopathy,” included individuals with low [More]

June 1st, 2015

Experts look at motivation to join terrorist groups

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In October 2014, three American girls in suburban Colorado skipped school to jump on a plane for Turkey to join the militant terrorist group, Islamic State. Stopped in Germany after their parents notified police, they were returned to the United States, questioned by FBI and released. The resulting questions in the media centered around why these adolescents, ages 15, 16, and 17, would do such a thing. They were not poor or without other options as is often suggested about motivation for terrorists. They were not uneducated, abused or kept away from society. The idea that an American teen, especially [More]

June 1st, 2015

ACT may benefit patients with depression and psychotic features

By Phyllis Hanlon

Treatment for individuals with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia has typically involved cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. But research is demonstrating that acceptance-based behavioral therapy may offer significant benefits beyond those derived from traditional treatment approaches. Brandon A. Gaudiano, Ph.D., research psychologist in Butler Hospital’s Psychosocial Research Program, faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and author of Incorporating Acceptance and Mindfulness into the Treatment of Psychosis, has been studying the use of Acceptance and Compassion Therapy (ACT) and mindfulness for individuals with psychosis and depression. The term [More]

June 1st, 2015

Yale research: Internet inflates person’s sense of knowledge

By Susan Gonsalves

Thanks to Google, iPhones and the Internet, some people gain a miscalculated sense of what they know. Researchers at Yale University conducted several experiments to determine how looking information up online affected people’s opinion of their own intelligence. The results, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology were derived by recruiting approximately 200 participants online through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and breaking them into two groups: one that could look up answers to questions using a search engine and another that could not. According to lead author Matthew Fisher, B.A., a fourth year graduate student at Yale’s Cognition and Development Lab, [More]

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