Articles, Leading Stories

July 1st, 2016

N.H. prison faces lawsuit for housing mentally ill

By Rivkela Brodsky

The New Hampshire State Prison for Men faces a lawsuit for housing people dealing with severe mental illnesses who have been civilly committed in its Secure Psychiatric Unit. The Treatment Advocacy Center – an Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit that works at a national level to change laws that affect getting treatment for people who have the most severe mental illnesses – said they plan to file soon. “We’re dealing with a constitutional issue and that is keeping civilly committed people in a prison system,” said Frankie Berger, director of advocacy for the center. “You’re not allowed to do that. These mentally [More]

July 1st, 2016

MPA/MNS in discussions with Beacon Health Options

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Massachusetts Psychological Association and the Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society have a long history of engaging with different insurance companies to advocate for practitioners, according to Roger F. Cohen, Ph.D., former member of the MPA/MNS Joint Advocacy Group. Cohen explained that the MPA and MNS together have done some “pivotal work” since the 1980s with a variety of insurers, including Tufts, United Healthcare and Blue Cross. “MPA and MNS joined together around issues of mutual concern,” he said. Collaboratively MPA and MNS have attempted to inform various insurers of the importance of neuropsychological testing and assessments. “Neuropsychological services have great potential [More]

July 1st, 2016

Use of third party vendors reviewed in wake of stabbing spree

By Pamela Berard

The state is conducting a review in the aftermath of a stabbing spree that ended at Silver City Galleria mall in Taunton, Mass., that left three people dead and several others injured. Family members of the man accused of the stabbings – who was shot and killed during the May 10 incident after reportedly stabbing several individuals, two of whom died – reported that he had been taken by ambulance to Morton Hospital the night before for psychiatric issues and was released early the following morning, the day of the attacks. In a statement following the incident, Morton Hospital, part [More]

July 1st, 2016

Harrington Hospital to open dual diagnosis unit

By Phyllis Hanlon

Citing the desire to fulfill an unmet need, Harrington Health Care System is planning to open a Dual Diagnosis Unit (DDU) for the treatment of individuals who have an addiction concurrent with a mental health crisis at its Webster, Massachusetts campus. Greg Mirhej, Harrington’s executive director for behavioral health, said, “Too often the care of those who suffer with both of these types of conditions is compartmentalized. Units, which are adept at treating the addiction spectrum of disorders, have limited access to qualified mental health care. Meanwhile, plenty of inpatient mental health units perform detox procedures for addiction, but few [More]

July 1st, 2016

Revision on wrap-around services focuses on schizophrenia

By Rivkela Brodsky

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has revised who can receive wrap-around community support services under its Medicaid program, focusing mostly on those “with severe and persistent mental illness.” What was previously available to individuals dealing with mental illnesses like posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, will now focus on those dealing with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in accordance with the DSM 5, said Mary Mayhew, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. “This is a policy designed to support people with severe and persistent mental illness – especially schizophrenia or schizoaffective [More]

July 1st, 2016

Election cycle analyzed by political psychologist

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For a political psychologist, this election cycle has provided plenty of fodder for discussion. From the rise of a true political outsider to the first woman in line for the top spot on a party ticket, to the role of the media in reporting, and affecting, political outcomes, the presidential election of 2016 has been a game-changer. New England Psychologist’s Catherine Robertson Souter spoke with Elizabeth P. Ossoff, Ph.D., professor and chair of the psychology department at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, to discuss some of what she sees as key components of the current cycle. She talked about [More]

June 1st, 2016

Postpartum depression in new dads: under-diagnosed and under-treated

By Phyllis Hanlon

Since the early 1990s there has been a growing body of research drawing attention to and appreciation of postpartum depression in new dads, according to Shannon Erisman, Ph.D., director of the Day Program at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. She explained that the birth of a baby represents a huge role transition, especially for first time parents. For males, the transition may be especially difficult, particularly if they’ve had prior episodes of depression and are younger at the time of the birth. “Men who are younger than 25 are socially deprived, have less support and are at greater [More]

June 1st, 2016

Telehealth coverage expands in Massachusetts

By Janine Weisman

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts was expected to notify its provider network on May 15 of its plans to expand telehealth coverage starting this summer. On Jan. 1, the largest private health plan in Massachusetts started covering diagnostic evaluations and psychotherapy for 30 minutes or less conducted by videoconferencing. But as of July 1, BCBSMA will expand from two Current Procedural Terminology codes to seven for covering diagnostic evaluations and 30, 45, and 60 minute sessions of psychotherapy with patients and/or family members and such psychotherapy sessions when performed with an evaluation and management service. The telehealth coverage announcement [More]

June 1st, 2016

Telehealth CBT assists breast cancer survivors with memory problems

By Janine Weisman

Specialized cognitive behavioral therapy delivered via telehealth reduced memory problems and anxiety for breast cancer survivors living in Maine in a new study published online May 2. The small-scale study published in Cancer, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, is the first randomized controlled trial to use telecommunications technology to evaluate the treatment of chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction with an active control condition. And it shows promise in supporting large cancer center survivorship programs as the number of people living with a cancer diagnosis in the U.S. continues to increase. While the study had only 47 participants, about 75 [More]

June 1st, 2016

U.S. ranks 13th in World Happiness Report

By Rivkela Brodsky

In the latest World Happiness Report – an update released to coincide with International Day of Happiness on March 20, just 11 months after the 2015 report came out – the United States ranks 13 among 157 countries listed in the report. Coming in at the top at number one was Denmark, followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Israel, Austria, and then the United States, which came in just above Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Germany, Brazil, Belgium, Ireland, and Luxembourg to round out the top twenty. Burundi ranked last at 157 after Syria, Togo, [More]

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