Articles, Leading Stories

April 1st, 2016

PREP program for early psychosis receives funding boost

By Pamela Berard

The Prevention and Recovery in Early Psychosis (PREP) program in Massachusetts has expanded its work to help diagnose and treat young adults grappling with the early stages of psychotic illness. PREP, which provides intensive, comprehensive, evidence-based outpatient treatment for young adults 18-30 who are experiencing an early episode of psychosis, is a joint venture of the Outpatient Department at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC) and the Commonwealth Research Center, affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and housed at MMHC. The program, in operation for more than 10 years, is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and has been [More]

April 1st, 2016

Legislation aims to address N.H. opioid crisis

By Rivkela Brodsky

New Hampshire is receiving a lot of attention for its “opioid crisis” – but it’s not just a campaign issue. The state has seen a huge increase in opioid overdose deaths in the past five years – the numbers have more than doubled since 2011. There were 201 drug overdose deaths in 2011, according to statistics from the New Hampshire Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. That dropped to 163 in 2012 and rose to 192 in 2013 before jumping to 326 in 2014 and to 420 in 2015, with at least 14 cases pending toxicology results. This data is [More]

April 1st, 2016

Ketamine: long on hype, short on answers

By Janine Weisman

Boston psychiatrist Cristina Cusin, M.D. can’t ignore the dramatic results from treating severely depressed patients with ketamine when traditional antidepressants couldn’t help. She can see it on their faces. “When it happens, it’s really impressive,” said Cusin, a staff psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Depression Clinical and Research Program. “They look like totally different people. The problem is it doesn’t last very long and the depression goes back to exactly where it started in another few days.” A fast-acting anesthetic approved more than 40 years ago to treat soldiers during the Vietnam War, ketamine has been shown to relieve depression [More]

April 1st, 2016

Research looks at men’s reluctance to seek help

By Susan Gonsalves

The popular stereotype of men driving around lost because they are not willing to ask for directions is actually more accurate than not. That reluctance to seek help holds true in the lives of men having mental health issues as well. A body of empirical research supports the belief that men are less likely than women to get assistance from professionals for problems such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, physical disabilities and stress. Michael Addis, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. is director of a research group on men’s well being and has [More]

April 1st, 2016

Task force recommends early autism screening

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one in 68 children born in the U.S. was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the London School of Economics and Political Science estimate that more than 3.5 million Americans have ASD. They also report that cost of care may be as high as $2 million over the course of the individual’s lifetime. That figure is in addition to the estimated $250,000 it takes to raise a child these days. Additionally, between 2000 and 2010, rates of ASD increased 119.4 percent, according to [More]

April 1st, 2016

Dogs help vets with PTSD to cope

By Susan Gonsalves

A trained dog can help ward off panic attacks, act as a physical barrier in public places and aid veterans with mobility issues by retrieving items for them. With a lick or a tug and the ability to perform helpful tasks, the dogs can be comforting friends and lifelines as veterans with physical injuries, posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries transition back to civilian life. Project HEAL™ is one program offered by the non-profit organization called Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) founded in 1995 by Lu and Dale Picard. With training facilities in New York and Connecticut, the [More]

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]

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