Articles, Leading Stories

March 1st, 2016

Some Riverview patients could be placed in prison unit

By Pamela Berard

Certain Riverview Psychiatric Recovery Center patients determined not criminally responsible and incompetent to stand trial could be placed in the Intensive Mental Health Unit (IMHU) at the Maine State Prison. Under legislation introduced in February, that situation would occur when deemed necessary to maintain the safety of patients and staff and to meet the treatment needs of those forensic patients. The bill (LD 1577), submitted by Gov. Paul LePage, (R), has raised concerns among mental health advocates. “This is the best example I could dream up of criminalizing mental illness,” said Jenna Mehnert, MSW, NAMI Maine’s executive director. Mehnert said [More]

March 1st, 2016

Acupuncture: alternative therapy for addiction

By Phyllis Hanlon

United States researchers are exploring the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment option for addiction. Acupuncture, designed to restore balance in the body, has been used for more than 2,000 years in China and Asia. Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx is reportedly one of the first facilities to offer acupuncture for addiction and the Veterans Administration lists acupuncture as a viable treatment option in its guidelines for treating posttraumatic stress disorder. Laurie Edwards, Psy.D., a psychologist, administers auricular acupuncture at the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC) at the Yale School of Medicine and explained this particular form of acupuncture addresses [More]

March 1st, 2016

Brain imaging study looks at children at risk for depression

By Rivkela Brodsky

The brains of children at risk for depression are “substantially different” compared to the brains of children not at risk. That’s according to a new brain imaging study by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. The study, recently published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, looked at the brains of 27 children aged eight to 14 who are considered at risk for depression and 16 control participants – all of whom had no current symptoms or history of depression. “What we were interested in is what’s different in the brains of children aged eight [More]

March 1st, 2016

New Hampshire to launch Medicaid demonstration project

By Catherine Robertson Souter

New Hampshire recently received a federal Centers of Medicare and Medicaid waiver for $150 million to help transform the state’s behavioral health delivery system. In early January, the agency approved New Hampshire’s application for a new five-year Medicaid demonstration project entitled, “Building Capacity for Transformation.” “This is an unparalleled opportunity for the state to pursue the triple aim of better care, better health and lower health care costs,” said Deborah H. Fournier, Esq., senior health care policy specialist, N.H. Department of Health and Human Services. “New Hampshire recognizes that addressing the substance use disorder and opioid crisis we are experiencing [More]

March 1st, 2016

Program helps siblings, parents of inpatient kids

By Susan Gonsalves

Siblings of children and adolescents undergoing inpatient psychiatric treatment are the “hidden casualties” of mental health issues. They are also at risk for developing maladaptive behaviors. With those concepts in mind, Emily Rubin, M.A.,  director of sibling support at UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, created a program entitled, “The Sibling Support Program: A Family-Centered Mental Health Initiative.” Launched in 2011, to date, 900 siblings and parents have participated at partnering Boston-area hospitals and that number is growing. “Family members are often left on their own to manage situations. The program is designed to build resiliency and decrease trauma,” [More]

March 1st, 2016

MSPP name change honors pioneer in psychology

By Phyllis Hanlon

When the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology was founded in 1974, the institution offered a single degree program on a small campus with fewer than 200 students. Today, the school has grown and its new name – William James College – reflects a much more complex and sophisticated organization. Nicholas A. Covino, Psy.D., president of William James College, reported that when MSPP decided to change its name, the school sought to identify with a “good icon and brand leader.” Covino said, “We thought William James, who basically wrote prodigiously about psychologists meeting needs in the community, best represented what we [More]

March 1st, 2016

Cynthia A. Belar, Ph.D., ABPP takes the helm at APA temporarily

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After a troubling year, and with their former chief executive officer, Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D., retiring on December 31, the American Psychological Association was in a bit of a bind. With no one set to take the position, the board of directors called upon Cynthia D. Belar, Ph.D., ABPP, to step in as interim CEO, holding down the fort until a more permanent replacement could be identified. Coming out of retirement was difficult, Belar has said, but worth it for the organization that held a special place in her heart. Belar, formerly involved in teaching, clinical practice and research, had [More]

February 1st, 2016

Conversion therapy effects shown

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1974, the American Psychological Association voiced strong opposition to discrimination, prejudice and violence based on sexual orientation. Until that time, those with homosexual tendencies were often treated with “aversion” therapy that included electric shock, systemic desensitization and other techniques. In 2007, the APA established a Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation, which was charged with conducting research on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts. In response, some states have passed legislation that bans conversion/reparative therapy. Rachel Gaillard Smook, Psy.D., owner of Birchtree Psychology in Northborough, Massachusetts, reported that 18 states have legislation pending to ban the practice of [More]

February 1st, 2016

Conn., N.H. sustain mental health spending increases

By Janine Weisman

Connecticut and New Hampshire are among 11 states that increased funding for mental health services every year since the 2012 mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., according to a National Alliance on Mental Health report. Massachusetts and Maine joined Connecticut and New Hampshire in increasing their mental health budgets from fiscal 2014 to 2015, according to NAMI’s report, “State Mental Health Legislation: Trends, Themes and Effective Practices.” Rhode Island and Vermont were among 14 states that maintained their mental health spending from the previous year. But less than half of states increased their mental health budgets from [More]

February 1st, 2016

Bill seeks six-month recoupment limit

By Janine Weisman

When a managed care insurance company recoups payments previously made to health providers for services rendered, it’s called a clawback. S outh Shore Mental Health President and CEO Harry Shulman, LICSW, calls it an “administrative disaster.” That’s what the head of the Quincy, Massachusetts-based agency that delivers education, behavioral health treatment and recovery services to about 16,000 clients annually from Boston to Cape Cod says it’s like to go back and reconcile billing accounts after reimbursements are electronically taken back. In the last months of 2015, South Shore Mental Health had about $75,000 in payments for providing outpatient individual therapy [More]

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