General, Articles

May 29th, 2019

Treating mind and body at the heart of rehabilitation psychology specialty

By Phyllis Hanlon

Individuals across the spectrum require care from a rehabilitation psychologist. Tim Belliveau, Ph.D., ABPP, director of postdoctoral training & research at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, Connecticut said pediatric patients with pervasive mental disabilities, individuals who suffered traumatic brain injuries, stroke or spinal cord injuries, and athletes with torn muscles are among those who may seek help. Elderly patients with age-related physical and/or cognitive decline also could require the services of a rehab psychologist “…to help maximize overall health and encourage a sense of personal choice and independence.” Established in 1958, Division 22, Rehabilitation Psychology, was one [More]

May 29th, 2019

Mental health courts offer alternative path to recovery

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2007, Judge Kathleen Coffey sought a way to help those with mental health disorders who were facing imprisonment. Mental Health Court offers an alternative path to recovery while avoiding incarceration. Joan Taglieri, senior director of clinical operations for the Boston Medical Center Department of Psychiatry, explained that the Mental Health Court is a specialized diversionary court session that facilitates access to intensive social services and mental health treatment to assist participants in maintaining stability, achieving recovery, and avoiding incarceration. This special court session is a collaborative effort within the courts between the probation department, the Suffolk County district attorney’s [More]

May 29th, 2019

Assessment teams factoring into Rhode Island, ME health care

By Eileen Weber

Patients with mental health issues too often end up in emergency rooms with nowhere else to go. ERs in Maine reported approximately 16 patients per 1,000 had mental health issues between 2011 and 2014, according to the latest statistics. “We know people are waiting in ERs from seven to 14 days for a bed rather than getting immediate care,” said Jenna Mehnert, MSW, executive director of NAMI Maine. “ERs should be ERs, not mental health institutions.” The state is working on an alternative option to ease the burden. In February, a bill was proposed that would offer four mental health [More]

May 28th, 2019

Weighing the pros and cons of insurance is crucial

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Setting up a new practice, while potentially rewarding in many ways, can also be stressful and overwhelming. There are decisions to be made, from location and staffing to marketing, hours, and when to open your doors. One of the most important decisions to make for anyone starting out, changing locations, or moving into solo or a new group practice will be whether to accept insurance payments. While there are pros and cons to both sides, it’s a personal decision based on several factors including the practice type, location, and professional goals. No one answer can suit every practice and the [More]

May 28th, 2019

New Hampshire organization uses peer approach to provide kinship, hope

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

One of the worst parts about struggling with mental illness is the loneliness. You feel like you’re the only person on the planet to suffer with these symptoms or stressors. You feel like you’re abnormal, inherently wrong, or “other.” So, when someone truly listens to you, cares, and says “me, too,” it can be transformative. People who have felt alone their entire lives can find connection and purpose, said Peter Starkey, executive director of the Monadnock Area Peer Support Agency (MPS) in Keene, New Hampshire. MPS is one of 10 agencies of this type across the state. Staff was involved [More]

May 13th, 2019

Hebrew Senior Care’s expansion hopes to address psychiatric needs of elderly

By Eileen Weber

People are living longer and as a result, rates of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related issues continue to increase, impacting not only families, but the greater medical community. According to AARP, 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement every day and the U.S. Census Bureau’s assessments bear those figures out. They predict that by 2030, “one in five residents will be retirement age.” The World Health Organization states globally 15 percent of adults over 60 suffer from a mental disorder with dementia and depression topping the list. The Centers for Disease Control published a study last year that projected the rate of [More]

May 11th, 2019

Baystate Health, US HealthVest to build hospital

By Phyllis Hanlon

In February, Baystate Health, a not-for-profit integrated healthcare system that serves more than 800,000 people across western Massachusetts, announced plans to construct and operate a new behavioral health hospital in this region of the Commonwealth. The project is a joint venture between Baystate Health and US HealthVest, a nationally known for-profit behavioral health care company that partners with existing health systems to improve access and expand inpatient psychiatric care and substance abuse services to underserved populations. Shelly Hazlett, manager of public affairs for Baystate Health, provided a press release that offered details on the project. According to the release, the [More]

March 10th, 2019

RI summit addresses student mental health issues

By Phyllis Hanlon

In January, government and local college and university leaders met to discuss the prevalence of stress and anxiety on college campuses. Governor Gina Raimondo called for the summit to help identify opportunities and strategies for collaboration among the counseling centers on Rhode Island’s college campuses, according to Nicole Shaffer-Thomas, director of communications and outreach, RI Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner. The summit produced a number of good ideas, said Vanessa M. Britto, MD, MSc, FACP, executive director of health and wellness at Brown University. Britto, also assistant vice president for campus life and student services said Rhode Island’s size and [More]

March 10th, 2019

Numerous deficiencies reported at CT juvenile centers

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) published a report citing several areas needing significant improvement after examining conditions at juvenile centers in Bridgeport and Hartford. The centers are operated by the Court Support Services Division (CSSD). The report also included data collected from the Manson Youth Institution for Boys and York Correctional Institute for Girls, which fall under the purview of the Department of Corrections (DOC). The investigation reviewed data from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 and was released in January 2019. Mickey Kramer, MS, RN, associate child advocate, explained that the Connecticut legislature mandated the [More]

March 9th, 2019

Vermont’s new mental health commissioner Sarah Squirrell ready to face challenges

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Like many states, Vermont is in dire need of mental health reform. Sarah Squirrell, Vermont’s newest mental health commissioner, said there are no easy answers to the complex challenges. However, Squirrell welcomes the opportunity to address these issues, which, she said, require collaboration, innovation, and commitment. “Our communities and service delivery systems must commit to work together to advance solutions to improve the care of individuals with mental health needs, and to always keep the needs of those we serve and their families at the center of our work,” Squirrell said. “Sometimes we think our best way to serve the [More]