Articles, Leading Stories

October 1st, 2013

Apps embraced by mental health professionals

By Janine Weisman

As a teen with an anxiety disorder growing up in Wilton, Conn., Brandon Cohn felt frustrated spending the first 20 minutes of every therapy session explaining what happened to him over the previous week while the last 10 minutes were devoted to scheduling the next appointment. “Then when I’d left, I would question if I had told her everything I should have told her,” Cohn, now 21, recalls. “I’d realize that I hadn’t slept very well that week so maybe it was just my sleeping habits and she didn’t know about it. All of a sudden, it felt like everything [More]

October 1st, 2013

DCYF grapples with cost of long-term placements

By Janine Weisman

The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) has significantly reduced the number of children in state care sent to mental health treatment residential programs in other states over the last several years. But it’s not enough to avoid deficits as the state embarks on the second year of three-year, $107 million System of Care contracts with two non-profit networks. Sixty-eight children were in residential treatment facilities out of state last May when the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services held an oversight hearing on DCYF finances at the State House in Providence. Most were in Massachusetts, [More]

October 1st, 2013

Bill authorizes on-site behavioral health treatment at prison

By Phyllis Hanlon

When legislators from Maine toured the Riverview Psychiatric Center (RPC) in Augusta, as they do every two years, they witnessed firsthand a dangerous situation that promises to get worse. To address the problem, “An Act to Increase the Availability of Mental Health Services” (LD1515/HP1087) was introduced to the legislature this past April. Mary Louise McEwen, BSN, MBA, Riverview’s superintendent reports that the facility, which comprises 44 forensic and 48 civil beds, has experienced a tremendous jump in referrals. “The non-criminally responsible population has steadily grown in the last 10 to 12 years. We have a net gain of five patients [More]

October 1st, 2013

HIPAA Final Rule implemented

By Phyllis Hanlon

On September 23, the Final Rule from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) took effect. This rule reflects changes to HIPAA from the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. According to Eric Harris, Ed.D., J.D., consultant to The Trust and member of the APA/ASPPB/Trust Joint Task Force on the Development of Telepsychology Guidelines for Psychologists, any psychologist who, at some point since 2003 when HIPAA was first implemented, has engaged in at least one electronic transaction is responsible for complying with HIPAA regulations. He explains that this refers to any electronic communication, [More]

October 1st, 2013

ADHD brain-wave test gets mixed reviews

By Howard Newman

A new, non-invasive clinical test for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents has drawn varying degrees of concern, interest and skepticism from mental health professionals in New England. The test, which takes about 15-20 minutes, was developed by NEBA Health in Augusta, Ga. It uses EEG technology to measure the ratio of theta and beta brain waves. The testing device, Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System, was approved by the FDA on July 15. Several controversial issues surround the NEBA system, not the least of which is the single study – unavailable to the public and conducted [More]

October 1st, 2013

Task force identifies priorities for quality of care

By Pamela Berard

The Behavioral Health Integration Task Force in Massachusetts submitted recommendations aimed at improving health care quality and outcomes – while also controlling costs – to the state legislature and the newly created Health Policy Commission. The task force, chaired by Department of Mental Health Commissioner Marcia Fowler, M.A., J.D., was created under Chapter 224 of the Acts and Resolves of 2012, which focuses on improving the quality and efficiency of health care delivery and payment systems – including the integration of primary care with behavioral health – as the next chapter in health care reform. Fowler says the recommendations were [More]

October 1st, 2013

Program focuses on outdoor adventure therapy

By Rivkela Brodsky

Sending her teenage son to Summit Achievement in Stow, Maine, was the first step in getting him on the right path, says Amy Schwartz. Her son, now 17, attended the licensed residential program for teens that focuses on outdoor adventure therapy, in 2010. In his eighth grade year, her son was caught with marijuana during a school trip. He was suspended from school and had to go through a New Hampshire court ordered class that covered topics like anger management. “What he really learned was where all the bad kids are,” she says. “In my mind, it was not helpful [More]

October 1st, 2013

Victims of sibling aggression suffer consequences

By Susan Gonsalves

Even one incident of sibling aggression causes mental distress among children and adolescents according to recently-published research in Pediatrics. Study authors from the University of New Hampshire analyzed data from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence using a random sample of 3,599 children ages one month to 17 representing all geographic regions. They conducted telephone interviews with youth ages 10 to 17 and spoke with caregivers concerning younger victims. Lead author Corinna Jenkins Tucker, Ph.D., UNH associate professor of family studies, notes that the mental health effects of various forms of aggression were considered such as physical abuse [More]

October 1st, 2013

Cyberbullying common across grades 9-12

By Janine Weisman

One in six high school students (16 percent) have been victims of electronic bullying in the past year, reveals a study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC. last May. The same study also found that 31 percent of high school students spend three or more hours on an average school day playing video games or using a computer for something other than school work. Researchers analyzed data from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) of 15,425 public and private high school students. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts the national [More]

October 1st, 2013

MSPP lays off seven faculty, staff members

By Catherine Robertson Souter

On August 14, seven faculty and staff members at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) were informed that they were being laid off from the school because of budget cuts. The news, which came as a surprise to the employees who were let go, came 12 days before the school’s fall session was scheduled to begin. “We were given no notification at all,” says Michael LaFarr, Psy.D., an alumnus of MPSPP who was on the school’s clinical Psy.D. faculty and the organizational and leadership faculty. He also served MSPP as the director of enrollment management and registration coordinator for [More]

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