Articles, Leading Stories

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]

October 1st, 2013

AUNE awarded grant to improve outcomes for children

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Antioch University of New England’s Center for Research on Psychological Practice (CROPP) was awarded a contract by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to oversee a $4 million dollar project to improve behavioral health outcomes for children and youth served by the agency. The state was awarded a grant as part of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s program to implement systems of care across the country. Each of the federal agency’s 16 grants were awarded, for $1 million annually over the course of four years, to improve community-based services directed toward children [More]

October 1st, 2013

Experts weigh in on unconscious bias

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, Americans have found ourselves asking some very difficult questions. Beyond the facts of that night, a young African-American boy leaves his house to buy candy and a drink, is followed by a neighborhood watch volunteer who later shoots and kills the unarmed teenager, are the underlying themes that have dogged our country for centuries. In a world where all are ostensibly created equal, are some more equal than others? Do some have more rights to move about, to guard their properties, to defend themselves, to simply exist, than others? For most of [More]

August 21st, 2013

Psychosocial oncologists: a critical niche in the field

By Phyllis Hanlon

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS); the organization expects 1.6 million new cases will be diagnosed in 2013. While medical treatment is paramount in managing a cancer diagnosis, psychological intervention also plays a key role. Ellen Dornelas, Ph.D., director of the behavioral health program at the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital and associate professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, sees a huge need for more psychologists to work with cancer patients. Whether the prognosis is poor or good, psychologists [More]

August 21st, 2013

Courts, governments scrutinize insurers

By Pamela Berard

State governments and courts are scrutinizing whether insurers are complying with laws meant to ensure care for the mentally ill. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley this spring sent a letter to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), urging the industry to comply with state law requiring coverage of necessary mental health services. The AG’s Health Care Division has obtained seven settlements since 2007 alleging carriers failed to cover mandated mental health services, amounting to $9.2 million in payments to consumers and the state, according to Jillian Fennimore, deputy press secretary for the attorney general’s office. “Compliance with the law is not [More]

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