Articles, Leading Stories

January 1st, 2015

APA ethics under investigation

By Phyllis Hanlon

New York Times reporter James Risen’s new book, “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War,” discloses the hidden costs of war on terror, shameful governmental practices and abuse of power. In this tome, Risen alleges that the American Psychological Association (APA) colluded with the Bush administration regarding torture of detainees. In response, the APA has issued several statements refuting the allegations. Rhea Farberman, executive director for communications at the APA, says that the organization is taking the allegations seriously and has engaged David H. Hoffman, an attorney with Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, to conduct a “thorough and objective” [More]

January 1st, 2015

R.I. tracking and treating its chronically homeless

By Janine Weisman

The numbers of homeless people in Rhode Island did what everyone hoped when volunteers fanned out across the state one night in January 2014 to count how many people were living in shelters and on the street. They went down. What the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development called its annual “point in time” estimate counted 1,190 homeless people, 20 of whom were unsheltered. That represented a 14 percent drop over 2013 when 1,190 homeless people were counted with 117 unsheltered and an overall decrease of 13.3 percent since 2007. But the numbers can get complicated. The Rhode Island [More]

January 1st, 2015

Hospital expands to meet needs

By Rivkela Brodsky

An increase in behavioral health patients staying more than 24 hours in Mid Coast Hospital’s emergency room has prompted the company to expand in two ways. The hospital in Brunswick, Maine, is paying $740,000 to add three urgent care bays off its waiting room and a secure behavioral health observation unit to its emergency department. “We’ve seen a 91 percent increase (between 2010-2014) in the care hours that we spend,” says Thomas Kivler, LCPC, CCS, director of the behavioral health division at Mid Coast. “About 25 percent of our care hours given are to behavioral health, even though that’s only [More]

January 1st, 2015

R.I. looks to fix mental health system

By Janine Weisman

Is Rhode Island’s public mental health system working? The answer was a resounding no from the crowd that filled Rhode Island College’s Sapinsley Hall for a forum on the subject one rainy night last November. But how to fix this broken system had no clear consensus, according to those polled at the November Publick Occurrences event, “Rhode Island’s Mental Health System: Condition Critical?” sponsored by the Providence Journal and Leadership Rhode Island. Nearly 100 audience members used remote controls to vote on multiple-choice questions. Eighty-six percent said the public mental health system was broken, the Providence Journal reported in an [More]

January 1st, 2015

Sandy Hook parents give feedback

By Pamela Berard

During testimony to the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings highlighted the need for trauma-trained mental health professionals and a clearer path to services following a crisis. The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission – comprised of 16 individuals from law enforcement, mental health, education and emergency response – has gathered information for the past two years and will make a broad series of public policy recommendations to enhance the safety of schools and community spaces and improve response to emergency situations. The November hearing was the last in 2014. As the commission [More]

January 1st, 2015

Initiative helps veterans

By Catherine Robertson Souter

At nearly 115,000 men and women, New Hampshire has its fair share of residents who served in the U.S. military. The fifth highest rate per capita, veterans make up nearly 11 percent of the state’s total population. In June, the N.H. legislature voted to make permanent a commission on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury in order to address issues of access to health care and reduce stigma for veterans with mental health concerns and to increase community education and training. A survey of 1,170 veterans conducted by the commission found that for many of these men and women, [More]

January 1st, 2015

Researchers: schizophrenia is neurodevelopmental disorder

By Rivkela Brodsky

Research is beginning to back up the idea that schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder. So says Joshua Roffman, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of Brain Genomics at Massachusetts General Hospital. “As we become more attuned with what is happening clinically with these individuals and also as we’ve had more tools from a neuroscience standpoint in terms of brain imaging, that has helped clarify the picture,” he says. Roffman says that most investigators now think of schizophrenia as being of “a two-hit condition.” The first part occurs early in brain development, while the second happens [More]

January 1st, 2015

Prison unit addresses abuse

By Catherine Robertson Souter

According to N.H. Corrections Department officials, nearly 85 percent of prisoners in the state’s penitentiary system are dealing with substance abuse issues. While not all have been incarcerated as a direct result of addiction, it is a problem that does not go away, even under secure lockup. “It is an issue all prisons have to deal with,” says Jeffrey Lyons, public information officer for the New Hampshire Department of Corrections. “Drugs come in behind postage stamps or on envelopes or thrown over walls or passed through a kiss by a visitor or hidden in a body cavity. They will find [More]

January 1st, 2015

WRAP workshops expand across Vermont

By Pamela Berard

Vermont’s Blueprint for Health initiative is helping to coordinate and expand throughout the state a series of free, evidence-based self-management workshops to help residents with health maintenance as well as prevention of a range of chronic health issues. As part of this effort, Blueprint for Health and the Department of Mental Health, in collaboration with the Vermont Center for Independent Living and Vermont Psychiatric Survivors, worked to help spread Copeland Center Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) workshops across the state. WRAP, a peer-led and peer-engaged wellness and recovery system, helps participants decrease and prevent troubling feelings and behaviors, increase personal [More]

January 1st, 2015

Greater Burlington takes step to address homelessness

By Howard Newman

Sixteen nonprofits, government agencies and other organizations in the greater Burlington, Vt., area have joined to try a different approach to combating homelessness. It’s the 100,000 Homes program, modeled after a national initiative of the same name and covering the towns of Burlington, South Burlington, Winooski and Colchester. The nation-wide 100,000 Homes program was run by Community Solutions, a national non-profit. Although the national program is no longer running – it’s been replaced by a new initiative called Zero: 2016 – Community Solutions has established guidelines which the greater Burlington project is now using. “In a small state that has [More]

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