Columnists, Articles

November 6th, 2020

The way we live now

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The dump or recycling center has long been a hub of social and civic engagement in the town where I have lived for the past 42 years. Recycling bins for every kind of material earn the town hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, and candidates for public office are often on hand to woo voters to the ranks of their supporters. Autumn brings mountains of leaves, the remnants of New England foliage that nature’s alchemy turns into dark, rich topsoil, free for the taking in spring. And every season gives us more books than we can read in a [More]

November 6th, 2020

COVID-19 has tripled depression rate

By New England Psychologist Staff

A new study finds that 27.8 percent of U.S. adults had symptoms of depression as of mid-April 2020, compared to 8.5 percent before the COVID-19 pandemic. “This represents a three-fold increase over what it was before COVID,” says lead author Catherine Ettman, a doctoral student at the Brown University School of Public Health and director of strategic development in the Office of the Dean at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). Not surprisingly, the study found that money was a defining factor in who was reporting new symptoms of depression. “People with lower income were twice as likely to [More]

November 5th, 2020

Practical Practice: Getting people the help they need

By Catherine Robertson Souter

According to a study published in August by the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. adults have reported three times the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder and four times the prevalence of symptoms of depressive disorder compared with the same time period in 2019. Even if the figures cannot be compared directly, as the CDC report points out that the methodology was not identical, the numbers are alarming. One quarter of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, 13 percent reported an increase in substance use and 11 percent reported an increase in suicidal ideation. Luckily, Americans are also reaching [More]

November 5th, 2020

Racial disparity in the criminal justice system

By Phyllis Hanlon

According to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Southern states, post-Civil War, utilized criminal justice as a way to maintain control over African Americans. A loophole in the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, enabled these states to pass “Black Codes,” a system that involved the arrest and imprisonment of African Americans. The Latino population has faced similar discriminatory practices when it comes to the criminal justice system. The Pew Research Center conducted a bilingual phone survey of 2,015 Hispanic adults in 2008 and found that four percent of this population was in prison/jail or on [More]

November 5th, 2020

National Suicide Hotline soon to become three-digit number: 988

By Eileen Weber

In two years, the U.S. will have another three-digit emergency code: 988. In a co-sponsored bill proposed last year by Massachusetts State Representative Seth Moulton and Utah State Representative Chris Stewart, that number will directly connect callers with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In July, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously voted to designate 988 as the national number for mental health emergencies. Until now, the access line has been the 10-digit number 1-800-273-8255. But like its emergency counterpart, 988 is far easier to remember and quicker to dial. A surcharge is slated to be connected to it as a [More]

October 21st, 2020

LifeSet Program prepares often troubled youth for successful lives

By New England Psychologist Staff

The Youth Villages LifeSet Program, designed to help young people aging out of foster care or juvenile justice custody, has proven a success, according to officials with the program in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. “Our LifeSet program is the bridge to successful adulthood,” said Lori Sustek, state director in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She explained that LifeSet is a comprehensive program that works with young adults from the ages of 17.5 to 22 “to help them achieve their goals in education, housing, employment, and basic independent living skills.” Participants work one on one with a LifeSet specialist, who meets with [More]

October 8th, 2020

Could walk and talk therapy become the norm?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Before we all were forced to slow down, most of us tended to think of spending time in nature as a benefit, something we squeeze in between all our running around. But, as studies have shown, getting outside should be considered more than a luxury. We should think of it as a requirement for both physical health and optimal cognitive function. In fact, one 2019 United Kingdom study shows that a minimum of 120 minutes of outdoor time per week is associated with higher levels of self-reported health and well-being. As the 2020 pandemic churns onward, therapists are looking for [More]

October 8th, 2020

FDA ban on shock device affects one school

By Eileen Weber

This past spring, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) because they present an “unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury” to patients with aggressive or self-injurious behavior. The ban is nation-wide but directly impacts one school—the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) in Canton, Mass. The device has been used for decades at the residential school for people with autism and other psychiatric, developmental, or mental disabilities. It is the only facility in the U.S. that uses the technique on its residents. “Since ESDs were first marketed more than 20 years ago, we [More]

October 7th, 2020

COVID-19 funds provide financial relief to several residential schools

By Phyllis Hanlon

Some special education residential schools in Massachusetts received a much-needed fiscal shot in the arm when Governor Charlie Baker announced that $16.1 million would be awarded to certain facilities. Thirty-two special education residential schools were given the funds to help alleviate pandemic-related expenses. Awards ranged from $18,220 to nearly $2 million. Several residential schools received more than $1 million, including the Hillcrest Educational Center ($1,275,323); the Evergreen Center ($1,087,973); the May Institute, Inc. ($1,006,071); the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, Inc. ($1,763,017); New England Center for Children (NECC) ($1,902,742); and Saint Ann’s Home, Inc. ($1,081,950). Vincent Strully, CEO and founder of [More]

October 7th, 2020

Long term results of parental alienation to the alienated child

By New England Psychologist Staff

(Source: Dr. Lori Love, Custody Evaluations 101: Allegations and Sensitivities) What are the long-term effects of parental alienation on the child who has been alienated? The results are devastating for the alienated child and can last a lifetime. Not only does the child miss out on a lifetime of having an enjoyable and fulfilling relationship with the parent they have been conditioned to reject, they also develop some serious pathological behaviors and attitudes that carry in to their adult lives. Following are descriptions of some of these disturbing effects: • Splitting: This is the psychological phenomenon of seeing people as either “all [More]

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