General

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]

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]

April 19th, 2020

Litigation continues in CT couple’s discrimination lawsuit concerning parental rights removal

By Janine Weisman

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut will appeal a federal judge’s ruling against a couple who say they were discriminated against because of their mental disabilities when the state’s child welfare agency removed their two infant sons. Joseph Watley and Karin Hasemann are challenging a decision last December by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny dismissing their claims that they were never given the opportunity to show they could be fit parents. Their two sons were taken away at birth in 2005 and 2006 and are now teenagers being raised by adoptive parents. The couple’s parental rights were terminated [More]

April 19th, 2020

Report: New England states fare well in national mental health rankings

By Janine Weisman

In 2012, Rhode Island’s youth mental health care system ranked 29th in the nation in a major survey of mental health data indicators. But in six years, the smallest state rocketed to fourth place because of a dramatic performance in getting adolescents and teens into treatment. Rhode Island reduced the rate of untreated youth with depression aged 12 to 17 from 67.1 percent in 2012 to 39.5 percent in 2017. It also increased the rate of youth with severe major depressive episode (MDE) who received consistent treatment from 23.7 percent to 47.6 percent during this period. Rankings of all 50 [More]

April 19th, 2020

Programs seek to address ME youth suicide

By Eileen Weber

The suicide rate in Maine has become a major issue. It has one of the highest rates in the nation and it is the second leading cause of death among kids and people between the ages of 10 and 35. According to the 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, there has been a significant increase in students with mental health issues. In Sagadahoc County alone, nearly 36 percent of students reported negative feelings and more than 19 percent considered suicide. Nationally, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. The CDC reports the suicide rate increased a [More]

April 19th, 2020

Vermont mental health services for children doubles in last two decades

By Eileen Weber

In the past two decades, the number of young people 18 and under accessing mental health services has doubled. A recent report showed that one in three children in the state experience at least one “adverse childhood experience” before age nine. The report from Building Bright Futures, a non-profit organization in Vermont that monitors early care, health, and education systems for potential legislative policy improvements, explained that adverse childhood experiences, or ACES, typically involve living in a home that struggles to cover basic needs. It can be anything from divorce to living with someone who has a substance abuse disorder [More]

April 18th, 2020

A help line for new moms & medical professionals

By Phyllis Hanlon

In June 2014, the state launched the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program for Moms (MCPAP for Moms) to provide assistance to pregnant women and new mothers who have behavioral health issues. The program also helps medical professionals better address anxiety, depression and other psychological matters. MCPAP for Moms is modeled after the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program (MCPAP), which was founded by John Straus, MD, in 2004. This program created a regional system of consultation teams that helps manage the behavioral health of pediatric patients. Strauss credits the Massachusetts legislature and Representative Katherine Clark (D – 5th district) with creating [More]

March 5th, 2020

Creating a professional will

By Catherine Robertson Souter

No one likes to think about dying or becoming unexpectedly incapacitated. Still, as human beings, we all know our time is limited, even if we do not know exactly how long we have. Beyond the frightening prospect of “what comes after,” the logical next thought should be, what will we leave behind? Just like for parents of young children, the idea that there are people who depend on you, who rely on your care, your expertise and the practical aspects of the relationship, should be of great concern to therapists. And, as many new parents do, setting up alternative plans [More]

March 5th, 2020

Study shows social media isn’t all negative — or positive

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Is social media helpful or harmful to our mental health? So far, the research has been “contradictory and inconclusive,” according to Mesfin A. Bekalu, Ph.D, a research scientist in the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Bekalu noted that this was his inspiration to conduct a study examining the effects of social media. The study, published in the journal Health Education & Behavior, found a more nuanced response: how individuals used social media had a significant impact on their mental health and social well-being. “In essence, we found that [it] is not [More]

March 4th, 2020

Wild Acre & Mental Health Solutions uses home-based health care for mentally ill

By Eileen Weber

About five years ago, New England Psychologist reported the Wild Acre Inn in Belmont, Mass., was changing hands. The residential treatment program, with several sites located within the Boston area, shuttered all but one by the fall of 2014. Bernard Yudowitz, MD, who ran the program since its founding in 1972, could not continue the program because of health issues. He called on John Sciretta, LICSW, for help. Sciretta was Wild Acre’s chief clinical officer from 1983 to 1996. He moved on to build a private practice that included supported apartments and home-based management care in the area. “I already [More]