Articles, Leading Stories

August 22nd, 2014

Public lacks awareness about mental health rights

By Phyllis Hanlon

According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 27 percent of Americans have received treatment from a mental health professional. And yet, a mere four percent are aware of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which mandates insurance coverage for these conditions. Doug Walter, J.D., associate executive director of government relations, was heavily involved in the passage of the parity bill, but notes that scant media efforts during the process did not draw attention to the issue. “You get laws passed through advocacy and grassroots efforts,” he explains, “although there was quite a bit of media splash [More]

August 22nd, 2014

Program encourages play to boost overall health

By Pamela Berard

A dozen New England cities and towns were among those recognized by a program that encourages play to help increase the physical, mental and emotional health of children. Playful City USA was launched by the non-profit group KaBOOM!, which helps build playgrounds through partnerships across America and is sponsored by the Humana Foundation. Playful City USA honors cities and towns that make play part of a city-wide agenda through creative solutions, coalition building, investment and data to address inequity through infrastructure, policy changes and programs. Among the 212 cities in 43 states recognized as 2014 Playful City USA Communities were [More]

August 22nd, 2014

High-pressure sports: how much is too much?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In today’s world of high-pressure sports programs, parents can have a difficult time evaluating what is in their child’s best interest. The possibility of a college scholarship and the lure of ever-higher levels of competition can draw families into programs that demand incredible time and financial commitments. But, how much is too much? What are the risks of this culture of intensity for the individual child and for the future of youth sports? And, most importantly, what can be done about any of it? Richard Ginsburg, Ph.D., co-director of PACES Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, director of psychological services for [More]

July 1st, 2014

Treating perpetrators is a challenge

By Phyllis Hanlon

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner every year; boys who witness the violence are twice as likely to abuse their partners when they become adults. Although significant research has been done, no clear answer to resolving the problem of domestic violence has emerged. During 30 years of studying male behavior, William S. Pollack, Ph.D., ABPP, associate clinical professor of psychology in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and senior clinical consultant on the mental health of men, adolescent males and boys at [More]

July 1st, 2014

Health Connector woes impact coverage

By Catherine Robertson Souter

A temporary solution to the state’s healthcare signup woes has caused more issues for some Massachusetts psychologists and their clients. This spring, the state began putting a short-term fix in place for residents who were having difficulty in signing up for subsidized health insurance through the state’s online health insurance exchange Web site, called the Massachusetts Health Connector. Approximately 31,000 people who applied for coverage but were not enrolled because of glitches in the system were placed on temporary coverage. But the fix left at least one serious hole, some psychologists in the state are finding. The temporary coverage does [More]

July 1st, 2014

Crisis Intervention Teams: Partnering police and practitioners

By Phyllis Hanlon

Fourteen years ago, Louise C. Pyers, M.S., B.C.E.T.S., founder and executive director of CABLE, Inc. (Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement), published an article on suicide by cop. It attracted the attention of Captain Kenneth Edwards, Jr., a police captain in New London involved with a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), a program founded in 1988 in Memphis. He invited her to ride along and observe firsthand how CIT worked; she was so impressed that her organization began delivering CIT training to police officers across Connecticut in 2003. Police officers who undergo the training are taught to evaluate a person in [More]

July 1st, 2014

Maine leads region in continuing care planning; Mass. at bottom

By Janine Weisman

New federal quality measures data show 41 percent of psychiatric patients hospitalized in Massachusetts were discharged without a plan summarizing their diagnosis, treatment, medications and recommended follow-up care. When patients did have such a plan, hospitals often failed to communicate the information to their outpatient providers. That puts Massachusetts second to last in the country after Nebraska (at 35 percent) for follow-up care planning and in last place at 31 percent for transmitting treatment information to the next level of care provider, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare Web site shows. Nationally, 74 percent of patients [More]

July 1st, 2014

Vermont bill would change involuntary treatment laws

By Rivkela Brodsky

A bill sitting on Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s desk will change the state’s involuntary treatment and medication laws for psychiatric care. The state currently requires two separate court hearings on involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital and later, on involuntary medication, a process that state officials and hospital administrators say was taking too long. A new bill that saw bipartisan support among lawmakers in the latest legislative session would allow the hearings to take place at the same time and sets something of a timeline to treatment in a hospital. Other changes include that an “interested party” can request an [More]

July 1st, 2014

R.I. tries to address overdose deaths

By Pamela Berard

In response to a rise in drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island and nationwide, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee in April outlined a series of ongoing actions and strategies. As of April, at least 85 overdose deaths occurred in R.I. in 2014. The state and the Anchor Recovery Community Center earlier this year co-hosted several public forums on overdose, addiction and recovery. Also, state officials signed an emergency regulation that puts Naxolone in use more easily and broadly, such as to first responders, providers and family members. Naxolone (also known as Narcan) can reverse the effects of an opioid [More]

July 1st, 2014

Organizational psychology cited as ‘fast growing’ job

By Pamela Berard

Tina D. Forrister, MA, was enrolled in a clinical psychology master’s degree program when she decided on a different path. “I realized two years in that it wasn’t the right fit for me,” says Forrister, who had an undergraduate degree in psychology and was working in the pharmaceutical industry while pursuing her master’s. Forrister continued working in pharmaceuticals, in learning and development and change management. In 2011, she found a way to combine that work with psychology – enrolling in the Organizational Psychology master’s degree program at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP). Forrister may be a trendsetter. The National [More]

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