Articles, Leading Stories

February 1st, 2014

Study examines teen sexual violence

By Janine Weisman

Nearly one in 10 young people between ages 14 and 21 say they have committed sexual violence, often toward a date, in a national study that found links to exposure to violent pornography. The study published online last Oct. in JAMA Pediatrics highlights how sexual violence may be different for older and younger adolescents and for males and females: 98 percent of those reporting sexual perpetration before age 16 were male but at ages 18 and 19, males and females are equally represented as perpetrators. Females were more likely to target older victims while males were more likely to go [More]

February 1st, 2014

Psychiatric hospital re-opens in Brookline

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After being closed for new admissions this fall, a Brookline psychiatric hospital has been re-opened for admission of most patients. Complaints of a forced strip search of a female patient in October at Arbour-HRI prompted a surprise visit from state licensing inspectors. The ensuing report cited concerns of inexperienced staff and unsanitary conditions causing the Department of Mental Health to first reduce and then stop all admissions to the facility in late November. “Given the seriousness of the complaints and incidents that occurred at Arbour-HRI in the past several months, our number one priority is to protect patient care,” says [More]

February 1st, 2014

Psychologist finds niche with performance coaching

By Catherine Robertson Souter

With the Olympics taking center stage on many American television sets this month, the elite athlete stands (or skates, skis and jumps) in front of us as the epitome of skill, training and preparation. For many, the Olympic stage is one to which we’ll never rise. However, there are lessons to be learned from these athletes when it comes to mental preparation. The field of sports psychology has a deep body of research on maximizing performance, research that is being applied to the average human both on and off the local golf course. New England Psychologist’s Catherine Robertson Souter spoke [More]

January 1st, 2014

Recovery: a paradigm shift in patient care

By Phyllis Hanlon

William A. Anthony, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Boston University and former executive director for its Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, dubbed the 1990s the “decade of recovery.” The subsequent 20 years brought some change to mental health care. But, according to Anthony, recovery still remains just a vision. Basically, Anthony defines recovery as “the development of new meaning and purpose as one grows beyond the catastrophe of a severe mental illness.” In order to truly implement this definition, the profession needs to adjust its way of thinking. “There has to be a whole system approach, not just the same way we [More]

January 1st, 2014

Final parity rule issued

By Pamela Berard

The federal government in November issued a final rule of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which spells out how the 2008 legislation is to be administered and should help eliminate inconsistent application. An interim final rule was issued in 2010, but the final rule includes additional consumer protections, such as: Ensuring that parity applies to intermediate levels of care received in residential treatment or intensive outpatient settings; Clarifying the scope of the transparency required by health plans, including the disclosure rights of plan participants, to ensure compliance with the law; Clarifying that [More]

January 1st, 2014

N.H. tables Medicaid expansion program

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After months of negotiations, New Hampshire’s legislature decided to table a proposal to accept the Affordable Care Act’s proposal for expanding Medicaid. In a two-week special session called by Gov. Maggie Hassan, (D) the Senate voted along party lines to reject any of the proposed plans until after the legislature re-convenes on January 8. The move comes just weeks before the year-end deadline to commit to the plan for 2014, thereby refusing the first year of three years of federal funding. As part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will provide 100 percent of the cost for the [More]

January 1st, 2014

Bill seeks to clarify training requirements

By Janine Weisman

Legislation seeking to broaden opportunities to complete post-doctoral psychology training in school settings in Massachusetts is expected to come before the full House of Representatives for a vote in early 2014. Rep. Ruth B. Balser, (D-Newton), introduced a bill last fall that would make schools an eligible site for certification as a Health Service Provider (HSP) for independent clinical practice. HSP certification allows a licensed psychologist to bill third party insurers for payment. The state Board of Registration of Psychologists grants this certification to applicants who demonstrate they have at least two years full-time supervised health service experience, of which [More]

January 1st, 2014

Task force explores mental health reporting for gun checks

By Janine Weisman

The gun violence prevention advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns calls Rhode Island a “worst performing state” for its failure to share mental health records with the federal gun background checks database. Now a task force is taking an in-depth look at the confidentiality statute preventing the Ocean State from submitting records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The 20-member Joint Behavioral Health and Firearms Safety Task Force has been meeting twice a month since last October and has a January 31 deadline to submit a report to the General Assembly with recommendations for new legislation. The [More]

January 1st, 2014

Impact of marathon bombing on veterans is investigated

By Rivkela Brodsky

The Boston Marathon bombing in April provided researchers at the National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University a rare opportunity to look at the effects of a traumatic event on combat veterans dealing with PTSD. Researchers had already been studying a group of Boston-area veterans when the terrorist attack that killed three and injured 247 occurred. “When this happened, we knew based on our clinical experience working with these guys, that this would likely be particularly shocking for them,” says Mark Miller, Ph.D., lead author and staff clinical psychologist with the National Center for PTSD [More]

January 1st, 2014

Prison’s mental health unit is expanded in Maine

By Catherine Robertson Souter

A prison-based mental health unit in Maine’s state correctional facility in Warren will see a 16-person staff expansion as part of the state’s plan to address serious issues at one of its psychiatric hospitals. In September, Gov. Paul Le-Page (R) signed a bill passed by the state legislature to expand the prison’s mental health unit to allow the hospital to send certain forensic patients there. The original plan, which allowed for potentially violent patients who have been determined incompetent to stand trial and those who are being examined to determine competency to be placed in the unit, was amended so [More]

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