Articles

June 26th, 2020

Domestic violence helpline callers are just trying to manage

By Janine Weisman

Numbers don’t tell the whole story when it comes to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rates of domestic and family violence. Calls to SafeLink — Massachusetts’ statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-877-785-2020 — initially decreased about a third and then ramped back up in April and May to about 90 percent of what they were pre-pandemic, according to Casa Myrna, Boston’s largest provider of domestic violence shelter and supportive services. Maine’s domestic violence resource centers also saw an initial decline in helpline calls and reach-outs when COVID-19 hit. Then, requests for emergency shelter were significantly down through the [More]

June 26th, 2020

Self-care for psychologists in a time of uncertainty

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Coping with the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic can lead to a barrage of symptoms most people don’t know how to manage. That is where psychologists come in, with advice and guidance on self-care that can help to steady the ship while we all navigate unsettled and unchartered waters. But what about the therapists themselves; what does self-care look like from the other side of the couch? “Even though everyone has been impacted differently, this trauma is unique in that we are experiencing this along with our clients,” said Ana Rodriquez, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Self-Care [More]

June 4th, 2020

Why Suicide Prevention Advocates Right Now Don’t Despair

By Janine Weisman

Mental health infrastructure has come a long way since 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. Social isolation, a key strategy to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 , is considered a significant risk factor for suicidality. So school closures, mandated face masks, and bans on large gatherings along with the most rapid change in the employment sector ever recorded in the U.S. have led to growing dread that suicide rates might rise. But is an increase in the suicide rate inevitable? Not according to Jerry Reed, Ph.D., MSW, a nationally recognized leader in the field of suicide prevention. “I think it’s really important [More]

June 3rd, 2020

Discovering What Matters Most

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

After almost three months into the Coronavirus lockdown in Massachusetts, we are cataloguing our losses and discovering new sources of vitality. So many things that we took for granted have changed or simply disappeared. This is true of our daily routines and of the larger societal rituals that sustained us in ways we may have never even stopped to consider. We are changing the way we work, worship, use our leisure time, and relate to one another, and along the way, we are discovering what matters most. Many of us are working from home using videoconferencing platforms like Zoom, Doxyme, [More]

June 2nd, 2020

NHPA Educational Foundation presents first award

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2009, the New Hampshire Psychological Association (NHPA) created the NHPA Educational Foundation under the leadership of then-executive director Kathryn E. Saylor, Psy.D and in collaboration with several other psychologists. This entity was designed to educate the public and practitioners, publish educational materials, sponsor quality programs that advance the profession, and recognize student achievement with scholarships. However, the Foundation remained dormant until January 2019 when Saylor moved out of state. The new leadership focused on other issues until the current NHPA president Celia Oliver, Ph.D, and incoming executive director, Jena Mottola made reviving the Foundation and establishing the scholarship two [More]

May 8th, 2020

Researchers at UMass Amherst create device to understand schizophrenia

By Eileen Weber

What if there is a way to better understand schizophrenia just by having patients wear a device? Two researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are in the process of finding out. With the help of a $1.15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the wireless device is likely to reveal how often a patient interacts socially—how many people they talk to, how close they stand, their breathing and other movements—and that may determine whether medication is working or if other treatments are necessary. Because patients with schizophrenia tend to maintain physical distance from others because of their [More]

May 7th, 2020

How to best present yourself while delivering telehealth

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Across the country, as we deal with the fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic, therapists are turning to video platforms for delivering care. For some, it’s an extension of what they were already doing, but for others this is a whole new world. “Therapists are quickly shifting their practices online,” said Rachel McCrickard, LMFT, CEO & founder of Motivo, a video platform that provides clinical supervision. “Many have formal training and/or extensive experience in the delivery of telehealth, and many do not.” By this point, you have probably made the decision whether to do on-line therapy and have done the research [More]

May 7th, 2020

Psychologist shares her experiences working in Haiti

By New England Psychologist Staff

Like many psychologists now, I am spending my time at home, focused on a computer screen. I am talking with people I know well and care about tremendously, who are at a distance, and am seeing clients via the same small square on my lap or the table. What is a little different for me is that many of the people I am “Zooming” with are in Haiti, part of a small college of social work there, and we have been communicating like this for a long time. What is unusual right now is that, in the past, our Zoom [More]

May 6th, 2020

Pandemic affects everyone, especially autistic kids

By Eileen Weber

Coronavirus, or COVID-19 , has ground most of daily life to a halt for weeks. Small businesses are shut down. Children aren’t going to school. People are confined to their homes clinging tightly to toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Globally, there are more than two million cases of the virus with tens of thousands of deaths. The United States has hundreds of thousands of cases with hotspots in areas of New York and Massachusetts and growing pockets in the South and Midwest. But when it comes to issues surrounding the coronavirus, there is one thing that’s been largely overlooked: kids [More]

May 6th, 2020

Mass. AG settles with health plans on mental health parity compliance

By Janine Weisman

Seven insurers agree to policy changes, including correcting reimbursement disparities Seven health insurance plans are making policy changes and paying a combined total of nearly $1 million to fund initiatives to increase access to behavioral health care under recent settlement agreements with the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. The policy changes by five health insurance companies and two companies that manage behavioral health coverage for other insurers are outlined in agreements filed Feb. 27 in Suffolk Superior Court. The changes address reimbursement rate disparities, eliminate unnecessary authorization requirements and improve the accuracy of provider directories. These settlements followed [More]