Articles, Leading Stories

April 1st, 2016

Families of narcissists suffer most, psychologist says

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In the mythological story, Narcissus found his fate looking back at him in the mirrored face of a pool of water. Pining away by his own reflection, this victim of the first “documented” case of what came to be known as narcissism, paid the ultimate price for his unhealthy self-regard. In reality, it is not the narcissist who generally pays for his unbalanced view of the world. While narcissists may lose out on true relationships and the beauty of a two-way street, they don’t often realize their loss, being so wrapped in their own pathology, according to Richard A. Grossman, [More]

March 1st, 2016

Neurofeedback: a viable treatment for mental health issues?

By Phyllis Hanlon

The brain could be considered the communication center of the body, sending messages to every cell and keeping all systems running properly. But psychological or physical trauma can disrupt those signals. Researchers are finding that neurofeedback can repair broken connections and help restore functioning. A traumatic brain injury involves the tearing of white matter connections in the brain that cause the whole system to be “out of whack,” according to Diane Roberts-Stoler, Ed.D., owner of Dr. Diane Brain Health in North Andover, Massachusetts. She speaks from first-hand experience. In 1990, she suffered a stroke while driving, resulting in a head-on [More]

March 1st, 2016

R.I. leaders collaborate to fix behavioral health system

By Janine Weisman

Nearly 10 percent of Rhode Island’s $8.7 billion state budget goes toward services addressing behavioral health conditions, from incarceration costs to child welfare services and social services. Yet more Rhode Islanders report unmet need for behavioral health care services than residents of other New England states, according to the “Rhode Island Behavioral Health Project: Final Report” commissioned by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and released last fall. Truven Health Analytics conducted this assessment of the supply, demand and costs associated with the full continuum of behavioral health services and developed recommendations for reforms. What’s primarily driving total spending, [More]

March 1st, 2016

Connecticut braces for budget cuts

By Pamela Berard

With a projected $500 million shortfall in the 2016-2017 Connecticut state budget and the General Assembly 2016 session underway, mental health advocates are rallying to preserve programs and services. NAMI Connecticut has outlined five 2016 legislative priorities, among them, to preserve and improve existing community supports. Daniela Giordano, MSW, NAMI Connecticut public policy director, said this goal is important particularly in light of the state’s current economic climate. “We know for a fact there will be cuts, it’s just where exactly, and how much and what exactly it will mean for people in the community,” Giordano said. “One of the [More]

March 1st, 2016

Psychiatric patients still flood ERs

By Rivkela Brodsky

Four years after Tropical Storm Irene caused structural damage to the state’s psychiatric hospital, Vermont’s system of psychiatric care offers more beds for patients in crisis, yet hospitals around the state find themselves trying to care for individuals left waiting in emergency departments for a psychiatric bed. Gifford Medical Center in Randolph has five emergency room beds and is not one of the state’s designated mental health facilities. “As you can imagine, it does not take much for it to become very crowded,” said Barbara Quealy, chief operating officer. “Our biggest challenge here remains the ability to quickly move patients [More]

March 1st, 2016

Task force recommends depression screening for adults

By Susan Gonsalves

Adults, including pregnant and postpartum women, should be annually screened for depression, according to a recommendation by the U.S Preventive Services Task Force. The organization cited the prevalence of major depressive disorder among adults in high income countries, its impact on quality of life for patients and their families and the higher risk of death by suicide or an inability to control other health issues. The USPSTF commissioned a systematic review to update a 2009 recommendation that focused on the direct evidence about the benefits and harms of depression screening. The organization also reviewed the accuracy of depression screening instruments. [More]

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]

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