General, Leading Stories

November 5th, 2019

Maine cracks down on vaping at schools

By Eileen Weber

A new law in Maine is cracking down on vaping by prohibiting tobacco, cigarettes, and e-cigarettes on school grounds. The law went into effect on September 19. One day later, the Bangor Daily News reported that the state had its first reported case of vaping-related illness. And, Centers for Disease Control Director Nirav Shah, MD, JD, made it clear that if you haven’t vaped yet, don’t start now. “People who do not vape should not start,” he said, “and people who do should seriously consider the health risks in using e-cigarette products.” According to Maine’s CDC, nearly four percent of [More]

November 4th, 2019

Study identifies resiliency strategies for family members of violent patients

By Susan Gonsalves

Family members of people with severe mental illness and violent tendencies often feel confused and isolated. Mental health professionals can help them by increasing their knowledge of mental illness and introducing them to strategies to ease the burden. That conclusion came from research led by Karyn Sporer, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maine. She and her team used in-depth, ethnographic interviews with 42 parents and siblings of violent children with severe mental illness to generate data and identify coping methods. Her results, published in the Journal of Family Issues, highlighted ways that families said they are [More]

November 4th, 2019

Lawsuit against Harvard intensifies focus on role of college mental health services

By Janine Weisman

One in four members of Harvard University’s Class of 2023 is Asian-American, according to demographic statistics on the university’s website. So, a recent report by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting that found six of at least nine Harvard undergraduates who died by suicide between the years 2007 and 2017 were of Asian descent should raise an alarm for college mental health services. One of those suicides was Luke Tang, who took his own life in a campus residence hall at the start of his sophomore year in September 2015. Tang’s father Wendell Tang, M.D., filed a lawsuit against [More]

October 10th, 2019

Evidence doesn’t support claim linking mental illness, mass shooters

By Janine Weisman

The evidence suggests mass shootings perpetrated by individuals with mental illness account for less than one percent of gun-related homicides. But you wouldn’t know it from President Donald Trump’s comments after a pair of mass shootings during the first weekend in August killed more than 30 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Among Trump’s widely reported quotes: “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun.” “The president is poorly informed about the research on gun violence generally and mass gun violence in particular,” said Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., JD, a professor in the doctoral program in clinical [More]

October 10th, 2019

Different theories examine causes of pedophilia

By New England Psychologist Staff

According to the DSM-5, the criteria to diagnose Pedophilia (Pedophilic Disorder) is defined as recurrent experiences of intense sexual arousal, fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children, usually under the age of 14. The person has acted on these sexual urges or these sexual urges or fantasies cause the person distress or problems in interpersonal relationships. In order to be classified with this disorder, the person must be at least 16 years of age and five years older than the child or children for whom he has these feelings that are possibly acted [More]

October 9th, 2019

Kurn Hattin celebrates an historical milestone

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1849, when Boston clergyman Charles Albert Dickinson started Kurn Hattin on a pristine Vermont hillside overlooking the Connecticut River Valley, the school consisted of two students, one teacher and two house parents. Fast-forward to 2019 and approximately 85 students are now enrolled and staff has increased as the school celebrates its 125th anniversary. In those early days, Kurn Hattin served as a safe haven for children living in dysregulated homes. Today, the school continues to provide a secure, nurturing environment for children who would otherwise be living in households with social, financial and other challenges. Steve Harrison, executive director, [More]

October 9th, 2019

Wayside launches new program for children impacted by opioid crisis

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

In response to the devastating effects of the opioid crisis on kids’ mental health, the non-profit service agency Wayside Youth & Family Support Network recently launched the Children Impacted by Substances (CIS) program. The program is part of Wayside’s Trauma Intervention Services in Milford. The CIS program serves clients in Middlesex, Norfolk, and Worcester counties, which includes 26 surrounding towns. According to Massachusetts Department of Public Health data, between 2010 and 2018, Middlesex had the highest number of opioid-related deaths. Worcester had the third highest. The CIS program can serve youth between ages five and 18 who’ve been affected by [More]

October 9th, 2019

Connecticut organization runs work-based learning program for teens

By Eileen Weber

This summer, Waterbury high school students got a chance at real-life skill building and resume development thanks to grants from the American Savings Foundation, the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund and other in-kind contributions given to the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR). The organization’s combined programs annually serve approximately 1,500 boys and girls. In their summer program, at-risk and disadvantaged teens developed work experience that could help them land a future dream job. Just ask Victor Marcial. A recent University of Hartford graduate, he pursued a degree in visual communications all because of the CJR program. He started with their after-school [More]

October 9th, 2019

The Walker School completes extensive renovations

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

This past summer, the Walker School completed an extensive renovation to its campus, creating new classrooms, a gym, and other improvements to benefit its students who have various behavioral, emotional, and social challenges. Located in Needham, Mass., the Walker School is a private special education school for students ages five through 13. Previously, the Walker School had three buildings, one of which included a hexagon-shaped building from the 1960s, which their architect noted had “outlived its useful life,” said Danielle Wetmore, M.Ed., the principal at Walker. It wasn’t conducive for learning or for kids with social, emotional challenges.” It was [More]

October 9th, 2019

New England’s last holdout to limit clawbacks finally passes law

By Janine Weisman

Health insurance companies now have a 12-month window to retroactively deny claims they already paid for mental health and substance abuse services in Massachusetts. Language imposing the time restriction on so-called clawbacks was included in the final fiscal 2020 state budget signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker on July 31. The budget incorporated language from bills in the Senate and House of Representatives that sought to end what mental health providers have long considered an unfair business practice. No time limit for clawbacks previously existed in Massachusetts, while other New England states had laws requiring health plans to initiate [More]